The paper is concerned with railroad wheel rim behavior under concentrated transverse contact forces. Design of underframe elements of modern high-speed railway vehicles requires detailed understanding of the behaviour of wheelsets, especially wave propagation in wheel rims, responsible for noise emitted, wear, corrugation, wheel poligonalisation etc. (Bogacz, 1995). In the present study, a wheel rim is treated as a curved beam of various beam models like curved Bernoulli-Euler beam, curved Rayleigh beam and curved Timoshenko beam (Bogacz, Kocjan, Kurnik 2003). They are compared with the Mahrenholtz approach based on the straight beam theory (Mahrenholtz, 2000). The influence of wheel radius on transverse wave propagation in the rim is studied. The wheel plate is modelled as a viscoelastic Winkler-type foundation (Bogacz, Dżuła, 1998). Travelling waves are analyzed with special attention paid to the velocity of propagation. The beam equations are solved using Fourier transformation, and the results are presented in form of time-space graphs. The effect of the vehicle speed is studied as well. The results obtained indicate important criteria to be taken into account in design of modern high-speed railroad wheelsets and bogies. It is shown that in general curved beam theory should be applied, but under some particular conditions the straight beam model is accurate enough. The influence of the internal stresses combined with wheel plate stiffness on wave propagation is presented as well.