Railway vehicles under certain conditions experience sustained lateral oscillations during which the wheel flanges bang from one rail to the other. It has been found that this behavior, called hunting, only occurs above certain critical forward velocities. Approximations to these critical velocities have been found from a stability analysis of the linear equations of motion for many different railway vehicle models. Hunting is characterized by violent motions that impose large loads on the vehicle and track, and bring several important nonlinear effects into play. This paper reports results of an analysis of nonlinear equations of motion written for two models of a railway truck. The influence of the nonlinear effects on stability is determined and the character of the hunting motion is investigated. One model represents a truck whose axle bearings are rigidly held in the truck frame while the truck frame is connected through a suspension system to a reference that moves along the track with constant velocity. The more complex model includes additional suspension elements between the axle bearings and truck frame. The effects of flange contact, wheel slip and Coulomb friction are described by nonlinear expressions. These results show the significant influence of flange contact on stability, and illustrate the effects of vehicle and track parameters such as rail adhesion, forward velocity, and wheel load on the forces and power dissipation at the wheel-rail interface.

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