Rail Vehicle and Track Optimization


The Canadian railway industry faces ongoing challenges with operating and maintaining a vast rail system, including diverse geography, harsh climatic conditions, competition from American railroads and numerous regulatory requirements imposed by North American agencies. The Rail Vehicle and Track Optimization program focusses on reducing the rail industry's operating and maintenance costs while also improving safety.

To help the rail industry remain competitive, the Rail Vehicle and Track Optimization program aims to improve the operational efficiency and safety of Canadian railways through rail vehicle engineering solutions, vehicle track interaction services and track maintenance planning. It further seeks out new technologies that will improve rail condition monitoring and inspection, minimize costly unplanned maintenance events and extend rail asset life.

"At TTX, we have many instrumented wheelsets of varying size and profile, made by the NRC. These wheelsets are the most important instrumentation used in any of our dynamic freight car tests. The support and expertise provided by the NRC team is fantastic".

Erik Gotlund, Senior Manager Engineering Research and Product Development, TTX Company


Collaboration opportunities

The NRC supports the rail industry by working with clients and collaborative partners to advance, develop, adapt and validate their technologies to address current industry needs.

The activities focus on 4 main areas:

  1. Rail vehicle engineering: Focuses on physical testing, engineering and dynamic simulation to enable rail car manufacturers and suppliers to produce better, safer, more durable and more reliable rail cars and rail/track components;
  2. Vehicle/track interaction and optimization: World-leading expertise and services focused on improving the performance, efficiency and safety of the vehicle-track system. Specialized expertise includes:
    • Wheel / Rail profile design & analysis
    • Rail grinding, lubrication & friction management program development and best practices 
    • Root-cause analysis & mitigation of rolling contact fatigue wear & noise issues
  3. Track maintenance planning: Integration of technology, tools and data analytics to enable vehicle/track performance trending, assessment of track condition and degradation rates, identification and prediction of unsafe track conditions, minimization of unplanned track maintenance, and the reduction of capacity losses associated with service disruptions.
  4. High-performance rail: Leverages the NRC's combined experience to focus on the broader issues of rail safety and efficiency. This focus engages all railway departments including track, mechanical, signals, structures, operating and IT, as well as the industry stakeholders who service these departments, to meet industry needs, and to improve Canada's rail industry as a whole. The NRC assumes facilitator roles between industry suppliers and railway operators and assists the rail industry stakeholders by de-risking suppliers technologies demonstrated on railways and acting as a neutral party providing impartial assessments.
Collaborator benefits

The NRC offers its clients a combination of infrastructure, personnel, equipment, experience and networking capabilities that is globally unique. This distinctive combination enables our clients and partners to produce unique technology solutions and shorter time to market. Utilizing these skills and assets can generate a multitude of benefits for clients, including:

  • solving client-specific and industry-wide technology problems
  • bridging the gap between early-stage R&D and technology market readiness to decrease investment risk
  • developing, adapting and transferring technology reducing time to market
  • creating complex multidisciplinary technical solutions that address emerging industry needs
  • developing guidelines and recommended practices to improve safety and increase cost-effectiveness of emerging products
Technical services

Instrumented wheelsets (IWS)

  • The NRC's IWS offers unmatched accuracy, reliability and durability with a unique ability to turn complex data into useful information for the end-user.
Research facilities

We put at your disposal state-of-the-art research and testing facilities, located in Ottawa, Ont.:

Contact us

Jason Pierosara, Client Relationship Leader
Telephone: 613-998-9378
Email: Jason Pierosara

Targeted industry

Railway suppliers and manufacturers (rolling stock, rail etc.), rail and track operators (transit, passenger and freight), regulators.