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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Automated Cracked Wheel Detection


In 2011 U.S. railroads reported 52 wheel related train accidents to the FRA.  Half of the derailments that occurred on Class I railroads were reported as derailments occurring from a broken wheel.  Detecting and eliminating cracked wheels before they break will have a significant positive effect on railroad safety and operational efficiency. 


FRA is sponsoring research into the next generation of automated cracked wheel detectors.   The Automated Cracked Wheel Detection Research project is being conducted in co-operation with the AAR Strategic Research Initiative program.


  • Install ACWD systems for evaluation and testing at TTC
  • Develop testing plans and test the systems according to these testing plans
  • Develop implementation practices and procedures
  • Develop plans for migrating the acceptable systems into revenue service

Rail Impact:

  • Facilitates detection of cracked wheels

A rail worker looks at a train.

A worker inspecting a railroad track.