Rail Vehicle and Component Testing

Rail Vehicle and Component Testing

Put safety at the heart of your railway operations

Put safety at the heart of your railway operations

What is railway physical testing?

Train testing involves putting an entire train – or individual components – through various laboratory and on-track testing under realistic driving conditions to ensure that the rolling stock and railway components are safe in accordance with relevant global standards and regulations. Railway physical tests also include testing under extreme events, like derailment safety tests, rail crash tests or impact tests. Once tests are completed, rolling stock and component manufacturers can learn from the results of the tests and use them as a basis for the commissioning approval, for certification or to make necessary improvements.

Why is rail component and train testing important?

Conducting physical on-track testing of rolling stock and rail component offers various benefits to rail manufacturers:

  • Ensure safety of your rolling stock and components in compliance with relevant global standards and regulations
  • Save time and money in avoiding costly rework and project delays
  • Increase your operational efficiencies to generate real business value
  • Provide your various stakeholders with confidence that your product has been tested to the highest standards

TÜV SÜD’s Rolling Stock Test Centre

TÜV SÜD offers extensive testing services for rolling stock and components. Our testing facilities for rolling stock and components are located in Halle/Saale, Görlitz, and Berlin in Germany as well as Winterthur in Switzerland. At our location in Görlitz we are equipped with testing facilities on an area of about 50.000 m². On our infrastructure a maximum speed of about 60 km/h is possible. This range provides ample speed for lots of different testing scenarios. For various types of rail vehicles - from auxiliary vehicles up to highspeed trains - on-track tests for running dynamics, brakes, fatigue strength and pantographs as well as acoustics, machine dynamics, aerodynamics, heavy current and electromagnetic compatibility are conducted for our global customers by our branches in Halle/Saale, Berlin and Winterthur (CH). For the various tests we use the public railway networks or non-public test infrastructures (test rings).

Beside testing your rail vehicles and components, we are also able to perform development tests of your vehicles and components. Also, we are connecting modern testing methods with simulations and the interaction of pantograph and overhead contact line. With a twist test rig for safety against derailment procedures according to EN 14363 as well as the determination of inclination coefficient and swing pole, we are also devoting ourselves to the high-quality requirements of the railway industry.

We are accredited as test centre in accordance with DIN EN ISO / IEC 17025 and certified for brake and wheel slide protection tests by the UIC and as test centre for dynamic overrun impact tests on tank containers and MEGCs (Multiple Element Gas Container) by Transport Canada.

TÜV SÜD’s rail vehicle and component testing services

We support you with a comprehensive range of rail vehicle and component testing services. Thanks to modern decentralised measurement technology, we are able to test the entire range of rail vehicles - from the smallest special vehicle to trams, metros, passenger and freight cars, multiple units, locomotives and even high-speed multiple units more than 200 m long. We offer you a complete program of stationary and track inspections:

Running dynamics

We provide optimised stationary tests and on-track tests, which we also combine with simulation calculations:

  • Tests of safety against derailment of the various procedures according to EN 14363 (twisted and flat 150m curved measuring track, 150m S-bend and 450m curved crossing)
  • Tests of driving safety under longitudinal compression forces according to EN 15839
  • Running dynamics tests using the normal method with measuring wheel sets or the simplified procedure as per EN 14363 or UIC 518
  • Application and calibration of instrumented wheelsets
  • Integration of simulation calculations as per EN 14363
  • Wheel and rail profile measuring to determine the real equivalent conicities as per EN 15302
  • Whole-body vibrations as per ISO 2631
  • Ride comfort for passengers as per EN 12299
  • Determination of the vehicle parameters inclination coefficient, roll pole height, spatial centre of gravity and twist coefficient of the vehicle body
  • Investigations of the freedom of movement in different track geometries and on the 3,5° ferry ramp
  • Rolling stock-related measurements on infrastructure (track profile, etc.)


  • Vehicle brake equipment checks and conformity with the equipment documentation
  • Testing of brake control and brake mechanics (including lining or brake pad force measurements)
  • Brake assessment as per UIC 544-1 / EN 16834 (travel at own speeds and uncoupling tests)
  • Slide protection (WSP) tests (UIC 541-05 / EN 15595)
  • Testing of stopping reliability / break-away force of the parking brakes
  • Functional tests and checks of vehicle diagnose systems
  • Our extra service for you: Loading and weighing


Fatigue strength is tested according to EN 12663-1, -2, EN 13749, ERRI B12 / RP 17, UIC codes, and technical specifications for interoperability as well as DVS guidelines, Eurocodes, IIW and FKM recommendations. We measure expansion/tension, forces, relative paths, accelerations:

  • Fatigue strength testing on traction and buffing gear (EN 15551, EN 15566)
  • On-track testing of running gear and its components as per EN 13749
  • On-track testing of torsion and bending on the wheel set (rolling tests) according to DIN manual 491/1


Track tests for the approval of railroad vehicles according to EN 1406-4 and EN 14067-5.

  • Pressure changes and air flows next to the track
  • Aerodynamic loads in the track bed
  • Evaluation of running resistance
  • Aerodynamics in tunnels

EMV, voltage and current

Measurements of voltage, current and magnetic fields for approval tests of rolling stock and infrastructure.

  • Verification of compatibility with track switching equipment
    o Interference currents according to EN 50238-2
    o Magnetic fields according to EN 50238-3
  • EMC radiation according to EN 50121-3-1
  • EMC personal protection according to EN 50500
  • Proof of freedom from mains interference (admittance measurements)
  • High voltage and high current tests
  • Drive dynamics and frictional locking, Z-V diagram


  • Measurement of noise inside and outside of rail vehicles for approval according to TSI Noise. Measurements are carried out at downtime or during driving tests according to EN ISO 3095 and EN ISO 3381.
  • Measurement of roughness of wheels and rails according to EN 15610 and track decay rate according to EN 15461
  • Vibration measurements in the vicinity of railroad tracks according to DIN 4150-2 and DIN 45672-1 to characterise the emission, transmission, and impact of vibrations and to predict vibration effects on people living near railroad installations according to DIN 4150 1
  • Sound power and vibration measurements for the assessment of occupational safety
  • Localisation of sound sources (including passing vehicles) by means of an acoustic array (112 microphones). The array samples with standard of 48 kHz and 24-bit resolution and has a dynamic evaluation range of up to 40 dB.
  • Measurements and examinations of machinery and equipment to determine noise emission and develop noise abatement and sound insulation measures


To optimise testing methods we continuously develop measuring technology which leads to shorter test and evaluation times. The latest measuring technology can provide meaningful test results on site. Pantograph monitoring measurements can be performed at any time during running dynamic test runs. We perform the following tests as per EN 50317 to test the interaction between pantograph and overhead lines:

  • Measurements for the aerodynamic optimisation
  • Contact force measurements
  • Arc detection measurements
  • Camera monitoring
  • Stationary and mobile optical contact wire uplift measurement at the base and in the free field

Machine Dynamics

With our services in the field of machine dynamics and acoustics, we can handle any task involving vibrations and noise. Our claim is not only to describe a dynamic or acoustic problem by measurements, but to identify the cause by considering all relevant aspects and, based on the results, to develop countermeasures to solve the problem.

  • Measurement and diagnosis of vibrations
  • Experimental modal analysis
  • Operational vibration analysis
  • Design of machine foundations and isolations
  • Model-based simulation of machines and processes
  • Acceptance measurements and assessment of vibration levels according to common standards
  • Signal analysis for solving complex dynamic problems

Component testing for traction and buffer equipment

For static/dynamic testing of traction and buffer equipment we have test rigs for loads up to 3 MN and an extensive carriage fleet with variable carriage weights. We offer tests for:

  • Side and diagonal buffers, collision-proof buffers (EN 15551), dampers
  • Traction equipment, draw hooks, screw couplings (EN 15566)
  • Coupling system


  • Proof of crashworthiness for railway vehicle bodies and dynamic properties as well as the function of crash systems in cornering collisions (EN 15227)
  • Determination of static and dynamic properties of crash components and systems as per type test speci­fications

Hazmat containers and flexi tanks

We offer dynamic impact tests on tank containers, MEGCs and flexi tanks of various sizes, and testing of methods of securing loads in freight containers, either according to the applicable standard or in line with individual customer specifications. Our test services comprise the measuring and assessment of accelerations (SRS), forces, expansions and deformations of:

  • Tank containers (CSA B625, ISO1496-3, UN/ IMDG/ ADR/ RID Manual of Tests and Criteria)
  • Flexi tanks (PAS1008, COA Code of Practice)
  • Securing loads (customer-specific requirements)


We provide an experienced test coordinator who will handle your type tests professionally and ensure that everything runs smoothly. Our test manager helps you with:

  • Coordination/planning the vehicles involved in the test process after they have been transferred to the testing facility
  • Determining the necessary vehicle states and coordinating any measures as part of the handover
  • Clarifying and coordinating any problems with the vehicle
  • Taking care of the track infrastructure, procuring track data, the timetable and the vehicles, and coordination with the rail company involved (network access, approvals etc.)
  • Mediating between you and other participants who are yet to be defined (TÜV SÜD, experts)
  • Troubleshooting 


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