Since the wheelset (wheel-axle assembly) is one of the most important components of the equipment used in the Shinkansen (new high speed line), high reliability is required to prevent severe railway accidents. Since service on Shinkansen started in 1964, continuous efforts have been made to raise its reliability still more, by examination for cracks in the fretted part of the wheel seat, improvement of the induction hardening method, improvement of the press-fitting method of the axle on the wheels, measurement of the stress distribution of the axle in service and their effects on the endurance life of the axle assemblies. The results of research on the fatigue strength of axle assemblies and the development of maintenance techniques based on this research are presented.

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