The INNOTRACK project (Innovative Track systems), launched in 2006, was a joint response by the major stakeholders in the rail sector – infrastructure managers (IMs), railway supply industry and research bodies – to further develop a cost-effective, high-performance track infrastructure by providing innovative solutions towards the significant reduction of both investment and maintenance related to infrastructure costs. UIC acted as a coordinator for this European project, divided into six related sub-projects.
Recently the railways have been facing new demands. Higher speeds and higher axle loads (often in combination), higher availability, fewer disturbances and reduced LCC are examples of the most predictable demands. At the same time, environmental demands and safety requirements must be fulfilled. Most railways also have many bottlenecks, at which the margin for disturbances is very slight. Thus the importance of railways will increase in the future if these emerging demands can be met.
The results of the INNOTRACK project will help the railways tackle these issues in the important area of track and substructure. This part represents 50 – 60% of the maintenance and renewal costs of a typical railway, which means that INNOTRACK’s output has a significant impact on the railways’ overall cost reduction. All these demands and challenges correspond to specific realities in everyday railway operations.
The output of INNOTRACK is like a toolbox with many innovative solutions. Some of these are defined as “highlights”. There are very technically oriented ones, while others are of a more general nature. INNOTRACK has shown for the first time that European track-related cost drivers and their root causes in the areas of substructure, track and switches & crossings are an international issue. Several implementation projects have therefore been proposed by UIC, since international cooperation is considered the most efficient way to address such issues.
141 technical deliverables constitute the complete results of the INNOTRACK project. To improve implementation, 16 deliverable guidelines have been produced. They focus on conclusions and practical applications so the results will be easier to implement. Clarity and straightforwardness are key concepts to this end. Of the deliverables there are also seven databases. Five of these are to be maintained by UIC.
The Concluding Technical Report is the “key” to achieving INNOTRACK’s results.
To further promote dissemination and implementation, several activities were proposed at the last INNOTRACK Steering Committee meeting and carried out by UIC. Five training courses focusing on assisting the implementation of the project results have been proposed concerning:
Minimum action rules and maintenance limits, on 19 and 20 October 2010 in Gothenburg (registration is available on the UIC website)
Sub-grade improvements, on 15 and 16 February 2011 in Paris
Recommendations on switches & crossings, pending
Rail grade selection, pending
Life cycle cost (LCC) calculations, pending
All public reports beyond 110 are now available at www.innotrack.eu