Railhead Damage

Feedback guidelines

When you are recording a rail defect, I would suggest that you note the following information. If your railway system has a problem with a particular defect, I would be happy to consider undertaking an investigation as a consultancy project but I cannot offer to comment otherwise.

Desirable information

  • type of traffic:
    • high speed,
    • passenger/freight
    • dedicated freight line
    • heavy haul
    • metro (surface or underground?)
    • tram / light rail
  • speed of traffic at site
  • are vehicles under traction or braking?
  • Is the rail in straight track or is it the high or low rail in a curve?
  • if in curve, what is the approximate radius and cant; is there lubrication?
  • A photograph on which you have drawn one arrow pointing in the direction of traffic and another towards the gauge face of the rail. Please also point to any unusual features that you consider significant.

NB There are several examples in this booklet of photographs such as this e.g. in Sections 1.2, 4.5, 6.1 and 6.2. If you don’t have a pen to mark the rail, please send the photo with some annotation to show the defect of interest.

Notes to help with taking a good photograph

  • Although black ink is used in most of the photos shown here, pink shows up very well in photos.
  • Take the photograph from about 0.5-1m distance, and if using a flash e.g. at night or in a tunnel, ensure that the camera is pointed so that the flash reflects away from the rail rather than into the lens.
  • Automatic cameras often focus better in the dark if someone shines a torch on the rail that you want to photograph.

Supplementary information e.g.

  • rail type (look at rolling mark on web of rail), rolling date and (if possible) date of installation
  • milepost
  • profile (“design” and measurement of actual profile)
  • date last ground
  • other feature(s) that you consider important.