Roaring rails

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Roaring rails is a phenomenon of short-wave corrugation observed in railroad tracks. Despite being a widely observed type of railroad track deformity, the reason it occurs was not known or researched until recently.


Roaring rails are very short wave corrugations that range from 25 to 75 millimeters in length. It is commonly associated with high speed passenger, transit, and light axle load railroad operations.


It is generally accepted that a few distinct causes lie behind different wavelengths of railroad corrugation. One study[citation needed] indicates that the specific short-wave railroad deformity is mainly caused by pinned-pinned resonance, in which the rail vibrates as a fixed beam, as if pinned between periodically placed sleepers. The dynamic train-track interaction that causes fixed frequency vibrations at high speeds, commonly observed in light load metro operations, and the anti-resonance caused by the pinning of the rails on sleepers, causes deformation and the "roaring" corrugation of the rails.


  • Stuart Grassie, John Edwards, James Shepherd. July 2007. Roaring rails an enigma largely explained, International Railway Journal
  • American Railway Engineering Association. 1998 Manual for Railway Engineering, AREA, Washington DC.

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