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Rail Vehicle and Component Testing

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 make any 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 own testing facilities for rolling stock and components are located in Görlitz and Halle/Saale, Germany. At our location in Görlitz we are equipped with testing facilities on an area of about 50.000 m². On this facility, 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 such as running dynamics, brake and WSP-tests, pantograph tests as well as strength tests are conducted by our branch in Halle/Saale.

Beside testing your rail vehicles and components, we are also able to perform functional tests of your vehicles and much more. Also, we are connecting modern testing methods with simulations for running dynamics and pantograph testing. A new mobile torsion and sway test bench was developed to address the challenges of the future rail industry.

We are accredited as testing centre in accordance with DIN EN ISO / IEC 17025 and registered as testing centre for tank container tests by Transport Canada.

TÜV SÜD’s rail vehicle and component testing services

We provide a comprehensive range of rail vehicle and component testing services:

Running dynamics

Our standard is to provide optimised on-track tests, which we also combine with simulation calculations of driving dynamics. Our test services for driving dynamics comprise:

  • Testing of safety against derailment (twisted and leveled 150 m curved measuring track, 450 m curved crossing)
  • Running tests using the normal method with measuring wheel sets or the simplified procedure as per EN 14363 or UIC 518
  • Integration of simulation calculations as per EN 14363 Appendix T
  • Rail profile measuring to determine the real equivalent conicities as per EN 15302
  • Whole-body vibrations as per ISO 2631
  • Passenger comfort measurements as per EN 12299

Brake system

Thanks to modern decentralised measuring technology, we are able to test the entire range of rolling stock – from the smallest special vehicles to trams, metro trains and even high-speed multiple units exceeding 200 m in length. We offer a complete range of stationary and on-track tests:

  • Vehicle brake equipment checks and equipment documentation
  • Testing of brake control and brake mechanics (including lining or brake pad force measurements)
  • Brake assessment as per UIC 544-1 (travel at own speeds and uncoupling tests)
  • Slide protection (WSP) tests (UIC 541-05 / EN 15595)
  • 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 tests

Fatigue strength is tested according to EN 13749; EN 12663, 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)

Pantograph tests

To optimise testing methods we continuously develop measuring technology which leads to more efficient test results and 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 power lines:

  • Aerodynamic optimisation
  • Contact force measurement
  • Arc detection measurement
  • Camera monitoring
  • Contact wire uplift measurement at the base and in the free field

Approval testing with rolling stock (static and dynamic)

  • Strength tests (EN 12663-1, -2)
  • Testing of driving safety under longitudinal pressure forces (EN 15839)
  • Determination of the vehicle parameters for incline coefficient, rolling pole height, spatial centre of gravity and vehicle body hardness
  • Inspection of clearance in various track geometries and on the ferry ramp

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

Crash tests (front structures, crash elements)

  • 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 and flexi tanks of various sizes, and testing for 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 (CAN/CGSB-43.147/AMD1 or CSA B625, ISO1496-3, UN/ IMDG/ ADR/ RID Manual of Tests and Criteria, ISO668)
  • Flexi tanks (PAS1008, COA Code of Practice)
  • Securing loads (customer-specific requirements)

Test coordination

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)
  • Coordinating other test areas, such as noise or electromagnetic compatibility
  • Troubleshooting


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