The Educational Railroading Conference Leader Since 1994


Ralph Schorr

Ralph Schorr
P.E., Senior Product Development Engineer

Amsted Rail


Basics of Vehicle Truck and Suspension Systems and Fundamentals of Vehicle Steering and Stability

This session will present the most common type of suspension systems used in North America freight cars. Truck designs of the major manufacturers will be illustrated. Key suspension elements such as springs (steel and elastomeric), dampers (hydraulic and friction), side bearings (roller, block, and constant contact), and adapter pads (Steel/rubber/plastic) will be explained and illustrated. Common design principles in freight car trucks will be explained such as variable damped, constant damped, and swing motion. Common design principles of primary and secondary suspension systems will be explored.

This session will also provide an introduction to several fundamental aspects of vehicle-track interaction at the wheel/rail interface, including:

  • The Wheel / Rail Interface and Key Terminology
  • The Contact Patch and Contact Pressures
  • Wheelset Geometry and Effective Conicity
  • Vehicle Steering and Stability
  • Friction, Forces and Wear