Tuesday 15 July 2014
European Projets / Infrastructure

Report from the UIC coordinated EU-project MAINLINE

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MAINLINE project presented at a Mini Symposium during the IABMAS 2014 Conference in Shanghai, 7 – 10 July

IABMAS stands for International Association for Bridge Maintenance and Safety and was founded in 1999. The association encompasses all aspects of bridge maintenance, safety and management. Specifically, it deals with bridge repair and rehabilitation issues, bridge management systems, needs of bridge owners, financial planning, whole life costing and investment for the future; bridge and related safety and risk issues and economic and other implications.

IABMAS arranges conferences every other year with this year’s edition held in Shanghai. The conference this year brought together around 728 participants from about 40 countries. During the conference about 400 presentations were carried out in common key note sessions and in six parallel sessions.

MAINLINE is a European railway project funded under the 7th Framework Programme and its consortium comprises 19 partners from 11 different countries. It is a three-year project that started in October 2011. MAINLINE is co-ordinated by UIC.

The objective of the project is to develop methods and tools contributing to an improved railway system by taking into consideration the whole life of specific infrastructure – tunnels, bridges, track, switches, earthworks and retaining walls.


  • Facilitate the utilisation of improved assessment and life extension without increasing risk,
  • Improve existing knowledge on damage and deterioration mechanisms in order to reduce significantly their effect on asset performance,
  • Identify and implement new cost effective replacement/renewal construction methods and logistics
  • Identify and compare new surveying and monitoring technologies
  • Develop methods to determine the whole life environmental and economic impact.

The MAINLINE idea fits very well with the IABMAS idea. The growth in the demand for rail transport across Europe is predicted to continue. Much of this growth will have to be accommodated on existing lines that contain old infrastructure. This demand will increase both the rate of deterioration of these old assets and the need for shorter line closures for maintenance or renewal interventions. However, interventions on old infrastructure will also need to take account of the need for lower economic and environmental impacts. This means that new interventions will need to be developed. In addition tools will need to be developed to inform decision makers about the economic and environmental consequences of different intervention options being considered.

In the Mini Symposium the following papers were presented:

  • Paper 1: MAINLINE – MAINtenance, renewaL and Improvement of rail transport iNfrastructure to reduce Economic and environmental impacts – Jensen, J.S. et al (COWI)
  • Paper 2: Extending the life of elderly infrastructure by strengthening – Nilimaa, J. et al. (LTU)
  • Paper 3: Influence of advanced assessment methods on the LCA of Elderly Bridges – Soriano, M. and Casas, J.R. (UPC)
  • Paper 4: Performance profiles of ageing steel railway bridges affected by atmospheric corrosion – A.N Kallias, M.k. Chryssanthopoulos (UoS)
  • Paper 5: Life-Cycle Assessment tool for railway infrastructure – D. Catlo (NR) et al.
  • Paper 6: Lifetime analysis of infrastructures – P. Cruc UoM) et al.
  • Paper 7: Challenges within Life Cycle Cost (LCC) studies and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) – Linneberg, P. et al (COWI)
  • Paper 8: Test to failure of Conclusions from a full scale test of a 50 year old steel truss bridge – Calibration of assessment Methods – A Carolin, T Blanksvärd et al (TRV & LTU)
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David Catlo (NR)