Railroads in the U.S. and Europe have evolved to perform the same functions but have developed different specification and regulatory environments. In the U.S., AAR rules apply while in Europe the UIC code is followed. This paper compares selected parts of both specifications with a view to understanding the differences in philosophy between them and pointing out areas where we in the U.S. might gain from adopting the methods used in Europe.
Clearly, the volume of regulation prohibits a comprehensive review and so discussion is limited to three key areas: Trackability—which includes ride quality and safety from derailment, Structural Integrity and Gauging—the calculation of the maximum permitted profile of the car. It is the author’s belief that improved performance could be obtained from the existing railroad environment by adopting certain UIC methodologies.