Track systems - Articles and news items
Latest issue, Supplements / 2 April 2013 /
This free to view Track Systems supplement is sponsored by KIROW, Harsco Rail, Amberg Rail, LINSINGER, SRS RAIL SYSTEM and Trimble:
- Under Sleeper Pads in Track – the UIC project
Florian Auer, Past Project Manager for ‘USPs in Track’ / Rodolphe Potvin, Head of Track Laboratories, SNCF / Paul Godart, Deputy Director of Infrastructure at Infrabel and Chairman of the UIC Track Expert Group / Laurent Schmitt, Infrastructure Senior Advisor, UIC
After gathering positive results from several railway companies, the UIC decided to launch a second project on the topic of Under Sleeper Pads (USPs). Between 2010 and 2012, members from 12 countries all over Europe and Japan worked on one of the biggest projects seen in recent years carried out by the UIC. Measurements in the laboratory and theoretical studies complemented the intensive on-site measurements on various test tracks in Europe. The project name – ‘Under Sleeper Pads in Track’ or ‘USPs in Track’ – aimed to develop a new track model to understand why tracks with USPs give a better performance…
- In-service track monitoring
Clive Roberts, Professor of Railway Systems at the University of Birmingham and Director for Railway Research, Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education / Paul Weston, Research Fellow, Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education
In the drive to reduce the cost of railway maintenance, research at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research and Education has been developing track monitoring systems that are able to detect and diagnose track geometry faults from in-service vehicles. This work is being undertaken in the UK as part of the EPSRC funded Track 21 project and in Germany in collaboration with Deutsche Bahn as part of the European FP7 AUTOMAIN project…
Issue 2 2012, Supplements / 13 April 2012 /
This free to view Track Systems supplement is sponsored by voestalpine and features:
- Optimising the wheel/rail interface: reducing forces for the benefit of all!
(Steve Yianni, Director of Engineering at Network Rail and European Railway Review Editorial Board Member)
- RAILECT – development of an ultrasonic technique, sensors and systems for the volumetric examination of aluminothermic rail welds
(George Kotsikos, RAILECT Project Manager of NewRail – the Centre for Railway Research at Newcastle University, Tamara Colombier, Senior Project Leader in the Non-Destructive Testing Technology Group at TWI and RAILECT Project Co-ordinator and Angélique Raude, Principal Project Leader in the Non-Destructive Testing Technology Group at TWI)
- Show Preview: INFRARAIL 2012 (more…)
Issue 1 2012 / 6 February 2012 /
The contact between wheels and track is fundamental to railway operations, but the contact conditions are affected by often unpredictable external sources of contamination such as fallen tree leaves, snow and rain which can substantially reduce the level of adhesion of the track that is essential to the delivery of tractive effort for traction and braking systems in railway vehicles. The problem of low adhesion reduces the traction and causes wheel spin when trains accelerate or lock their wheels to slow down which can potentially cause severe wear of wheel and rail surfaces, increase mechanical stress in the system and affect stability.
The history of adhesion management can be traced back to the use of sanding systems in locomotives to improve adhesion as early as the late 19th century, but there have since been significant advances in wheel slip/slide protection (WSP) technologies for braking and traction systems. The most commonly used wheel slip protection schemes are achieved by measuring and controlling the slip ratio (relative speed between a wheel and the train) and in more extreme cases to control the wheel rotational acceleration below a pre-defined threshold. Further performance enhancement may be obtained with the use of hybrid anti-slip approaches with the use of slip, wheel speed and acceleration information. Those controllers are difficult to obtain optimal performance and also require accurate measurement of wheel slip. In general, WSPs are effectively reactive systems, i.e. only ‘activated’ to stop wheel slip/slide when detected by the sensors. (more…)
Issue 2 2011 / 6 April 2011 /
Track21 is a major new research programme funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) with the aim of developing the fundamental science needed to bring about a step-change improvement in the performance of the UK’s railway track system.
Led by Professor William Powrie of the University of Southampton, Track21 brings together worldleading academics from the Universities of Southampton, Birmingham and Nottingham with key industry players to develop the scientific knowledge needed to inform not just incremental advances, but a step change in the way the existing track network is maintained and new lines designed and built. (more…)
Issue 2 2010 / 5 April 2010 /
The Chinese railway dates back approximately 130 years. The first railway line, Wu-Song, was built in 1876 in Shanghai with a length of 14.5km and a track gauge of 762mm. The first railway built by Chinese engineers is the Jingzhang-Railway (Beijing to Zhangjiakou), finished between 1905 and 1909 with a total length of 201.1km, a small curve radius of 182.5m and four tunnels with a length of 1.6km. The Chief Engineer, Zhan Tianyou, who used a switchback to overcome a steep gradient, is called the father of China’s railway due to his achievement in construction of this railway line. Since that time, the Chinese railway has written its own story. At the beginning of the modern era, 21,810km of railway lines were in operation. Due to the economic reforms up until the late 1980s, the Chinese railway begun to grow significantly to meet the requirements of the growing economy and population. Over the last decade, the topic of high-speed railway has become a very important one for the Chinese railway industry. (more…)
Issue 5 2009, Past issues / 26 September 2009 /
Since March 2008, Tilo Brandis has been President and CEO of RAIL.ONE GmbH. After his studies at various universities in Europe and at Harvard Business School, Brandis began his career at HBS Consulting Partners as a Project Manager and Management Consultant. In 1997, he moved to Siemens AG Transportation Systems. In 2003, he took charge of Siemens AG A&D Assembly Systems, with around 2,300 staff and with sales of approximately €600 million. Until he moved to RAIL.ONE, Brandis directed the acquisition of the US software company UGS for Siemens AG. With more than 800 employees and 18 locations in nine countries, RAIL.ONE is one of the world’s leading providers of railway track systems, with comprehensive consulting and engineering competence for all areas of application. (more…)
Issue 3 2009, Past issues / 15 May 2009 /
During spring 2008, a study of a slab track system for the new Ring Rail Line was conducted in Vantaa, Finland interlinked with the railway planning phase. The study concentrated on the seven kilometre long double tunnel system which would go under the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport area. The main task was to investigate the suitability of a slab track system as an alternative for a traditional ballasted track from the given starting points and in Finnish conditions. It was expected through international experience that slab track would present advantages concerning future maintenance, tunnel safety and also savings in tunnel excavations. The study was made for Finnish Railway Administration by Pöyry Infra Ltd and VR-Track Ltd Railway Consulting department.
Issue 3 2009, Past issues / 15 May 2009 /
High-speed rail traffic – and, consequently, regularly scheduled train service at speeds over 230km/h – has demonstrated tremendous development since its beginnings in the late 1970s, and above all during recent years. The required rail lines, as well as interconnected high-speed rail networks have been vigorously and continuously expanded, especially in Asia and in Europe. As part of this process, the entire complex of railway technology has been further developed on an uninterrupted basis and has been adapted to the more demanding requirements encountered: with respect to rolling stock, train traffic control and supervision systems, and – not least – track technology. It is therefore unsurprising that not only the very latest in trains are using the new high-speed networks, but that the state-of-the-art in track technology is also being likewise implemented.
Issue 1 2009, Past issues / 23 January 2009 /
Over recent years, minds have been focused on improving the system reliability of the Dutch railways. So far, it has proved possible to shoehorn the capacity requested by transport operators into the timetable each year, even though the network is one of the most intensively used in Europe. Now that reliability has been put in order, and the demand for capacity is increasing, the time is right for expansion and for raising capacity utilisation above traditional standards.
Issue 6 2007, Past issues / 26 November 2007 /
The international increase in transportation volume throughout the world over recent years has led to a revival in railway traffic. This has in turn resulted in an appreciable number of technical innovations and an enhancement in railway technology in the areas of rolling stock, train control and track engineering.
One example of such developments has been the establishment of ballastless track, not only for niche applications, but also as a standard product alongside conventional and more innovative ballasted tracks. Throughout the world today, new track projects and infrastructure expansions are being planned and engineered from the very beginning as ballastless track systems, which have proved to be safe, reliable and cost effective.
The RAIL.ONE Group (formerly ‘Pfleiderer track systems’) was involved from the earliest days in a leading role for the development of ballastless track systems for high-speed, heavy-haul and commuter traffic. Recently, the company has succeeded in profitably exploiting its experience in numerous projects for various countries and railway authorities. (more…)
Issue 4 2007, Past issues / 30 July 2007 /
ProRail manages an installed base which has an estimated replacement value of more than €30 billion. Tracks and turnouts are a significant part of the pie, amounting to more than €8 billion. Moreover, they consume more than 50% of total maintenance costs and 75% of renewal costs due to their usage-based, relatively rapid deterioration pattern and high cost of installation. Last but not least, track and turnouts, and especially high-speed turnouts are important because they are sources of failure and traffic disruption. This is why ProRail develops policy plans for track product and maintenance management.
This article briefly drafts ProRail’s product management and maintenance policy, which aims to deliver optimum performance levels of tracks and turnouts. The policy is a formal working document within ProRail, which sets out which track products, standards and maintenance strategies deliver best value for money1. (more…)
Issue 3 2007, Past issues / 6 June 2007 /
The fact that the slab track is more than just a product becomes apparent if the subject matter is approached from the perspective of the internationally active track construction company Heitkamp Rail, a subsidiary of the Dutch Heijmans group of companies.
Over a period of years, a very complex task field has developed around the slab track ranging from consulting and planning services to the execution of construction work and to internal developments. This task field is characterized by several track systems that – representing engineering projects by themselves – are often embedded in complex construction projects. (more…)