Friction Management


L.B. Foster manufacturers rail lubrication dispensing equipment for all rail applications.  Our rugged rail lubrication, adhesion control, anti-icing, and friction modification dispensing equipment is manufactured to withstand the ongoing rigors of trackside use.

PROTECTOR IV® Track Lubrication System

When protecting the largest asset - rail - and reducing fuel are among the top priorities, friction management offers a high return. From increasing operational efficiency through fuel savings and reduced track maintenance, to saving money in rails and ties – friction management plays a major role.

To achieve these benefits, a proven robust application system is required. L.B. Foster’s PROTECTOR series trackside systems are the industry standard. The PROTECTOR is designed to apply either gauge face grease such as our PROCURVE™, SYNCURVE™, and BIOCURVE™, or our revolutionary line of KELTRACK® friction modifiers. This innovative system is easy to install and consistently delivers precise, controllable, and reliable application. Backed by the most knowledgeable service team in the industry, we have a solution that can be customized to fit your unique needs.

The heart of the system is the patented double gear pump, which ensures balanced outputs and reduces clogging. This robust gear pump has been reliably applying a wide range of friction control materials for over 50,000 systems installed in the field today.

The brain of the system is the digital control box, now available with Remote Performance Monitoring™ technology, which has the capacity to fine-tune the distribution of friction modifiers and lubricants through pump run time and activation intervals. RPM™ is a powerful tool that provides customers the capability to monitor and report uptime, maintenance concerns, and refilling requirements in order to proactively manage the equipment installed on track more efficiently.

Finally, the new generation of applicator bars incorporate L.B. Foster’s patent-pending foam technology. Both our GreaseGuide and TOR foam applicator bars deliver the friction materials exactly where they are required far more efficiently than any other applicator bar in the industry. All bars provide outstanding, even flow because they share our field-proven, balanced port design, along with patented streamlined channels with Teflon® coating, and a wear-resistant distribution blade with V-grooves.


  • Increases fuel economy

  • Increases rail and wheel life

  • Reduces lateral forces

  • Reduces wheel squeal and flanging noise

  • Reduces rail corrugation

  • Reduces derailment potential

Wayside Protector IV® and GreaseGuide Applicator

Wayside Protector IV® Track Lubrication System using L.B. Foster's Patented GreaseGuide Applicator

The Protector IV® is a field proven electrical trackside lubricator that provides the most precise application of rail curve grease with minimal maintenance. The system includes:

  • Continuous development over 10 years.
  • An efficient compact design that allows easier placement in the field but still retains the benefits of good reservoir size and a clean hands compartment for access to the control systems.
  • Designed for a simple, fast installation and an easily accessible maintenance regime the Protector is an ideal field installation solution.
  • Electronic controls – the grease output is accurately controlled giving optimum and consistent delivery across a wide temperature range thus running costs minimized as grease usage is optimised
  • Only four Grease Distribution Units (GDU’s) are required resulting in reduced maintenance burden plus quicker installation and commissioning times.
  • All of the major components used within the lubricator are custom designed for the railway environment
  • More than 50,000 supplied worldwide and proven to flexible in a wide variety of applications and conditions.
  • The grease and controls compartments are separate and with secure locking
  • Ease of filling through a top position open access with a comfortable filling height.
  • Small footprint and narrow orientation ensures driver’s line of site is not obscured.

761 Hydraulic Wayside Lubricator

Hydraulic systems offer more simplicity when compared to mechanical system yet are more affordable than the higher precision electric systems. Hydraulic systems minimize the number of moving parts, however with limited degree of application control, and are better suited to shock loading and higher speeds than mechanical systems.

The 761 Hydralube applies lubricants to the gauge face of the rail and features a gear type pump similar to the Protector® IV Friction Management System. However, the gear pump used on the 761 Hydralube is powered by a hydraulic motor that is part of a closed loop hydraulic system. The lubricant is available in 400 lb (200kg) and 800 lb (400 kg) capacities. The 761 Hydralube is most effective in territories where speeds are between 25 and 50 mph (40 to 80 km/h).

Traction Gel Applicator

The Traction Gel Applicator (TGA) applies ALLEVIATE® Traction Gel to the rail head to combat the build up of leaf contamination on the head of the running rail(s). The gel is picked up by the train wheels and carried along, treating both the wheels and the rail head. Unlike the MPV’s which are used to lay traction gel on the rail, TGA’s apply the product as every train passes and therefore provides continuous conditioning.

The TGA system comprises of:

  • Track side cabinet (working life of 20 years) housing electronic power and control equipment, pump and product hopper.
  • Wheel sensor (attached to the gauge side of the rail)
  • Track spreaders on each rail (fed by a delivery hose system)
  • Solar panel
  • Remote Performance Monitoring available

TGA De-Commissioning, Servicing and Re-Commissioning:

We offer a full service provision for Traction Gel Applicators. Typically these units are in service for 14 weeks per year, we offer to de-commission units, fully service and store them off-site at their own facilities prior to re-commissioning them ahead of the next Autumn leaf fall season.

Latest News

Shuohuang Railway, within the Shenhua Group, completed its evaluation of our mobile Top-of-Rail (TOR) application system in 2017.

Mobile Top-of-Rail application system for The Shuohuang Railway

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