Loss of adhesion between a railway wheel and the track has implications for both braking and traction. Poor adhesion in braking is a safety issue as it leads to extended stopping distances. In traction, it is a performance issue as it may lead to reduced acceleration which could cause delays.\ud \ud In this work, wheel/rail adhesion was assessed using a twin disc simulation. The effects of a number of contaminants, such as oil, dry and wet leaves and sand were investigated. These have been shown in the past to have significant effect on adhesion, but this has not been well quantified.\ud \ud The results have shown that both oil and water reduce adhesion from the dry condition. Leaves, however, gave the lowest adhesion values, even when dry. The addition of sand, commonly used as a friction enhancer, to leaves, brought adhesion levels back to the levels without leaves present. Adhesion levels recorded, particularly for the wet, dry and oil conditions are in the range seen in field measurements.\ud \ud Relatively severe disc surface damage and subsurface deformation was seen after the addition of sand. Leaves were also seen to cause indents in the disc surfaces.\ud \ud The twin disc approach has been shown to provide a good approach for comparing adhesion levels under a range of wheel/rail contact conditions, with and without contaminants.\ud \u
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