Editorial: Foreword - Special Issue on the Damage Tolerance of Railway Rails


This Special Issue of Engineering Fracture Mechanics is a collection of papers from a Workshop on “Fatigue and Damage Tolerance of Railway Rails” held at the “Centre de formation technique de la RATP” in Paris, France on May 10–11, 2007. The event was jointly organised by the European Structural Integrity Society (ESIS) Technical Committee (TC) 24 “Integrity of Railway Structures” and the members of the joint French–German project NOVUM (New Methods for Quantitative Prediction of the Performance of Rails at the Background of Increasing Service Loads) coordinated by Société Nationale des Chemins de fer français (SNCF), France and Deutsche Bahn (DB), Germany. Rails, as the heart of the railway system, are subjected to very high service loads and harsh environmental conditions. Since any potential rail failure includes the risk of catastrophic derailment of vehicles, it is of paramount interest to avoid such a scenario. The papers of this special issue are focussed on various aspects of damage tolerance of rails such as the loading conditions, the phenomenology of fatigue crack initiation, propagation and failure, the modelling of crack initiation and early propagation by rolling contact fatigue, the modelling of the propagation of “long” cracks, of fracture and questions of maintenance and failure prevention.
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