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Urban Rail Transit

Providing proven friction management products and services that help maintain the safe, secure, and reliable operation of urban rail networks worldwide.


The rapid pace of urbanization globally has created increased opportunities for the growth of urban rail transportation systems.

This in turn has placed increased pressure on system planners and network operators to ensure sustainable solutions are adopted to effectively improve passenger experience, minimize environmental disturbance, and reduce operating and maintenance costs.

Friction Management at the wheel-rail interface has been robustly proven to be a sustainable, cost-effective strategy for mitigating problematic wear, noise, and corrugation phenomena by favorably manipulating energy and forces at this interface.

Our mission is to work with you to understand the advantages of friction management and identify how it can help you achieve your key goals:

  • Reduce annual program costs, including:

  • Rail grinding and rail replacement

  • Wheel truing and wheel replacement

  • Track component failure

  • Fuel consumption

  • Friction management materials

  • Maximize program benefits, including:

  • Control squeal and flanging noise

  • Avoid wheel climb derailments

  • Improve ride quality

  • Reduce track access requirements

  • Validate program performance

How it works

Managing friction at the wheel-rail interface involves the establishment of optimal friction levels and controlling the relationship between creepage and friction forces. Different levels of friction are desired at the top-of-rail / wheel-tread interface and the rail-gauge / wheel-flange interface, and thus these two separate interfaces require different materials.

Friction Management for urban rail transit systems can be achieved using both train-mounted and track-bound approaches and L.B. Foster have specifically designed solutions which are optimised for Urban rail.

These solutions include trackside lubrication systems which can be installed and dispense lubrication to all rail types included embedded tram rail systems; compact and slim line cabinets which are suited to tunnel environments and cabinets designed to fit with an urban street setting.

Train-mounted systems include both onboard solid stick and mobile liquid spray-based approaches.

  • Solid Sticks are formulated specifically for wheel flange or wheel tread application, each requiring different friction characteristics.

  • Mobile Spray systems apply desired quantities of friction control media at specific in-track locations.

Trackside systems make use of wheel sensing technology to detect passing traffic and apply friction control agents using rail-mounted applicator bars.

Due to the unique characteristics of urban rail systems, such as shared right of way, sharp curves, grooved rail, independent bogies, and low floors, L.B. Foster has developed specialized technical packages to address these specific needs:


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United Kingdom

We are L.B. Foster

We enjoy a market-leading reputation for high quality, high performance solutions in rail and infrastructure.

  • Harness the strength of our global network
  • L.B. Foster spans North America, South America, Europe, and Asia
  • Seamless global operations and efficient delivery of our products and services

When you choose to partner with L.B. Foster, you're not just selecting a vendor; you're aligning with a trusted global leader renowned for its commitment to excellence and superior performance.

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