CRE Facilities and equipment


CRE began rail research with field testing of trains in normal operations. These programs required development of robust field instrumentation and autonomous hardware and software systems. Notable projects have included full train test programs with up to 8 autonomous recorders collecting data that can be synchronised in later analysis. Systems have also been developed that provide on-the-fly recording and analysis, along with wireless LAN communications that can operate unattended for several months at a time. As a result CRE engineering, technical and programming staff can prepare customised field instrumentation with automated data acquisition and reporting systems for almost any application.


CRE operates a purpose-built Heavy Testing Laboratory designed and built primarily from ARC infrastructure grant (1995 & 1996) funds. The laboratory was designed to allow maximum flexibility in testing and simulating large structures and vehicles. The facility was initially designed to accommodate fully loaded wagons, rollingstock and bridge girders. Testing capabilities include vehicle suspension evaluation, instrumentation development, proof tests, two-axis tests and component fatigue tests.

Capabilities of Existing Equipment

  • Strong floor area 8m x 24m and portal frames that can support or react loads of up to 2000kN
  • Full scale tests up to 4 Hz continuous cycling
  • Steady load failure and proof testing up to 4400 kN
  • Fatigue testing of mechanical & civil components up to 3000kN
  • 350 kW Hydraulic Power Pack (up to 330bar)
  • Configurable software and servo cylinder systems for customised load profiles

Vehicle Suspension Testing

  • 4-point hydraulic control ‘wagon shaker’
  • Application of pre-recorded track data simulates actual rail-track interaction
  • Optional pre-set sine-wave displacement
  • Variable load-case testing

Structural Fatigue Testing

  • Custom built test rigs
  • Load or displacement control
  • Job-specific load application designs
  • Crack identification  using Magnetic Particle Imaging
  • Crack measurement using RepliSet®

Civil Structures Testing

  • Up to 2000kN vertical load & 500kN lateral load
  • Multiple Channel Displacement & Strain Data Acquisition

Brake Adhesion Testing

  • Measurement of brake shoe forces
  • Stopping distance,wheelset skid
  • Wheel-Rail Interface Friction

Heavy Haul Draft Gear Testing

The CRE has designed and built a laboratory rig to emulate field conditions for draft gears and allow proof tests and accelerated fatigue tests. The design process allowed for expected forces from heavy haul train operations and included provision for hardware-in-the-loop investigations using train simulation software to provide inputs and test sequences. The rig has been made large enough to include a wagon stub sill and a coupler pair (or drawbar) so that all draft gear components (knuckle, coupler, yoke, draft gear and stub sill) can be evaluated simultaneously.