In this article the finite element elastic-plastic code ANSYS/LS-DYNA was utilised to investigate the stress states and material response of wheel/rail under three contact situations, which included high and low adhesion, and full slip. Canted and non-canted rails were considered to measure how the cant angle affected the contact stress levels. Furthermore, the effects of the contact curvatures on the contact zone and contact pressure were also examined. The simulation of wheel flange contact was conducted to compare the stress state of the rail head and rail gauge. The results showed that a higher level of adhesion would enlarge the slip region in the stick/slip contact patch and widen the surface damage to a larger area. Moreover, the worn wheel/rail profiles would result in a non-elliptical contact patch and an increase of the contact pressure. Based on the shakedown map, it was anticipated that the rail would be damaged from the ratchetting response of the material.