New wheel profile helps BART with noise pollution

Written by Maggie Lancaster, assistant editor
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After just more than a year since it announced what it called "a design breakthrough," Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has released the results of its new, reduced-contact wheel profile.

BART says the new wheel profile has shown as much as a 15-decibel decrease in interior noise on the current fleet. Additionally, BART says the new wheel profile will no longer rely on the wheel flange catching the rail to turn around corner, which will “drastically reduce the amount of wheel and erosion, and will stretch the life of our infrastructure by many years.” The new wheel profile has been outfitted on 13 percent of BART’s legacy fleet and the transit authority estimates 90 percent of the fleet will be converted by 2019.

To help reduce noise even further, BART says it is currently performing surface grinds on rail to remove the effects of corrugation. BART says the rail optimization plan will take place during overnight maintenance hours for the next five years. The plan will occur in three phases, with six grinding passes per phase over the entire 235-mile system, equaling roughly 4,000 miles of rail grinding between now and 2022.

Once finished, BART says “passengers can expect to hum along our tracks at comfortable noise levels, no longer having to worry about whether a banshee has been let loose in the tunnels.”

Categories: Ballast, Ties, Rail, Commuter/Regional, ON Track Maintenance, Rapid Transit/Light Rail