Testing and characterization of railway systems
Bovisa Campus, Building B23
via La Masa, 1 20156 Milano - Italy


The laboratory provides a series of specific test-rig designed for the testing and the characterization of several sub-systems of a rail vehicle. In particular, there are devices for the structural testing of bogies or its subcomponents (e.g. bogie frames, bolsters or suspensions). The laboratory also allows the characterization of measurement devices to be used for homologation purposes.


Accredited tests ISO 17025:2005 (Accredia):

  • Static and fatigue tests on bogie frames, axleboxes and bolsters (UNI EN 13749:2011).
  • Measurement of the friction coefficient between pantograph contact strips and contact wire of overhead line and measurement of wear rate for contact wire and pantograph contact strips (RFI-DMA-IM.LA\ST TE65).
  • Train aerodynamic loads in open air: aerodynamic loads on track workers at the lineside, aerodynamic loads on passengers on a platform and pressure loads in open air (STI HS RST 2008, Direttiva 96/48/CE).
  • Rotating bending fatigue on axles (EN 13260).
  • Determination of the acceptability criteria for prestressed monoblock sleepers (RFI TCAR SF AR 03 002 E, parte III (§III.2; III.3, IV.1) + UNI EN 13146-5:2012; EN 13230-2:2016(E) (excluding §4.5.3, 4.5.4, 4.5.5, 4.6.3, 5)).
  • Determination of the acceptability criteria for prestressed concrete bearers for switches and crossing (RFI TCAR SF AR03 003 D, parte III (§III.2, III.3; IV.1) + UNI EN 13146-5:2012; EN 13230-4:2016 (E) (excluding §5.5.3, 5.5.4, 6, 7)).
  • Determination of electrical resistance for fastening systems mounted on sleepers. (UNI EN 13146-5:2012; EN13146-5:2012).
  • Determination of static and dynamic stiffness of rail fastening systems. (UNI EN 13146-9 :2011 (§6.1 e 6.2 prove su pad utilizzati a temperatura ambiente) + RFI TCAR SFAR OS 010 A (§III.3)).

Certified tests ISO 9001:2008 (Italcert):

  • Dynamic Interaction between pantograph and overhead contact line: calibration of the measurement system (EN50317, RFI/DI/TC.TE/ST.TE 74D).

Accredited Staff

ISO 9712:

  • ST - Strain Testing: Level 1 and 2
  • PT - Dye penetrant inspection: Level 2 and 3
  • MT - Magnetic particle inspection: Level 2 and 3


Alstom, Ansaldo Breda, Ansaldo Breda España, Bombardier, G.E. Transportation system, Lucchini R.S., Balfour Beatty, Furrer Frey, Metropolitane Milanesi, Pantecnica, RFI, ATM, Ferrovie Nord Milano, Trenitalia, ContiTech, MSA, Mermec, Italcertifer, Contact, DB, Faiveley, Shunk, SNCF, Stemmann.

Instrumentation & Facilities

  • Bogies test-rig: reconfigurable test-rig for the testing of structural rail components.
  • Dynamometric wheelset test-rig: characterization and calibration of dynamometric wheelset.
  • Pantograph test-rig: hardware in the loop device for the characterization of instrumented pantograph.
  • Axle test-rig: study of the rotating bending fatigue and crack propagation phenomena on axles.
  • Collector strips test-rig: testing on collector strips reproducing the real in-line conditions.
  • Aerodynamic tests: in-line testing procedure for the study of railway aerodynamics.
  • Secondary suspensions test-rig: simulation of curved track conditions.
  • Sleepers test-rigs: facilities for fatigue and static tests and electrical insulation verification.


Dynamometric wheelset characterization

  • Static characterization of a wheelset or, more in general a bogie, properly instrumented to measure the contact forces.
  • Real boundary conditions both at the contact interface (UIC60 cant angle 1/20) and at the axle-boxes (mounting on the testrig of the entire bogie).
  • Direct measurement of the three components of the contact forces acting on each wheel.
  • High variety of applicable loads and their combinations (up to 150 kN per wheel in vertical, 40 kN in lateral and 20 kN in longitudinal direction).

Structural rail components testing

  • Performs static, dynamic and fatigue tests on railway bogies and/or their components in accordance with the international standard EN 13749.
  • Reconfigurable layout in order to allow the housing of all types of bogies currently in circulation on railways, metros and tramways.
  • Possibility to control simultaneously a variable number of hydraulic actuators (up to 12) with different ranges of applicable loads up to a maximum of 1000 kN.

Collector stripes test

  • Performs wear tests on collector stripes reproducing the at best the real condition encountered in service.
  • Maximum current applicable: 1200 A.
  • Maximum relative speed between collector stripes and overhead power line up to 210 km/h.
  • Reproduction of the wind cooling effects and the load imposed by the pantograph springs.

Pantograph characterization

  • Allows the characterization of pantographs reproducing the dynamic interaction with the catenary.
  • Possibility to replicate the stagger geometry and pantograph velocity.
  • Separate application of the loads in vertical direction for the two collector stripes.
  • Real time hardware in the loop control to simulate the real interaction between the pantograph and a simulated catenary.

Rotating bending fatigue on axles

  • Imposes a variable load to the central section of the axle while rotating reproducing the conditions needed for axles fatigue testing.
  • Maximum rotation speed 600 rpm.
  • Maximum load 250 kN with the possibility to impose load spectra to the axle.
  • Possibility to run tests in harsh environmental conditions in order to reproduce corrosion effects.

Sleepers and fastening systems test-rigs

  • Specific test-rig for under-rail and middle section static and dynamic tests with a maximum load of 1000 kN.
  • Test-rig for the determination of the electrical resistance in wet condition.

Lab Brochure