The second TEG plenary meeting in 2019 took place in Bratislava (Slovak Republic) at the Railways of the Slovak Republic (ZSR) facilities. The meeting on Wednesday 11 and the technical visit on Thursday 12 September, were both hosted by Mr Miroslav Durkovský from ZSR.
On Wednesday, the opening session started by TEG Chairman Mr Paul Godart, and TEG Secretary Mr Kurt Demeersseman was entirely devoted to different technical subjects, such as the review and exchange of member practice, situation and progress for new and to be reviewed leaflets and IRS, on-going projects and also new projects proposals, all related to the area of track.
Mr Bernhard Knoll (ÖBB) was proposed, and then unanimously approved by the TEG as new chairman, replacing Mr Paul Godart from the next meeting in January 2020. Mr Kurt Demeersseman will remain as Secretary of TEG.
An updated UIC organisational chart, the platforms and forums were presented by Mr David Villalmanzo Resusta, highlighting in the UIC Management Committee the new Director General Mr François Davenne and the new Rail System Department Director Mr Christian Chavanel. This presentation was considered useful by the participants.
The migration plan of Leaflets into IRS, belonging to TEG, was also approved by the group of experts.
The final part of the presentation on general practices for track maintenance at DB was presented by Mr Andreas Beck, focused this time on wheel/rail contact and ballast bed maintenance. After that, there was a benchmark on video inspection by Mr Stefano Rossi (RFI), Mr Samir Ladoudedj (SNCF) and Mr Kurt Demeersseman (INFRABEL) as track experts in their respective networks. In addition, TEG Chairman, Mr Paul Godart presented the main results from the benchmark on welding of rails.
The final draft document for approval of the new IRS 70719 “Earthworks and track bed layers for railway lines – Design and construction principles”, updating the UIC Leaflet 719, was presented by Mr David Villalmanzo Resusta, and then commented and discussed. All accepted comments were incorporated to this final version. This document was also presented for approval at the Panel of Structural Experts (PoSE) the following week in Vienna.
Mr Bernhard Knoll from ÖBB, showed the current situation for the STABLETRACK project, which he is leading. It was created to update into an IRS, the current UIC Leaflet 720 for the protection of CWR Track against buckling. The last meeting took place in Madrid, where the group visited the CEDEX track box testing facility.
Mr Colin Newsome (Network Rail), prepared a presentation addressing the subject of track buckling incidents occurred in his corresponding network during this exceptionally hot summer and mitigation measures. Some of the lessons learned will be studied and incorporated to the STABLETRACK project, as will the technical report “Lateral Track Resistance” of immediate publication.
Mr David Mirayo presented the final draft document for approval of the new IRS 70723 “Technical aspects of vegetation control and tree risk management – Guidance and recommendations”, updating the old UIC Leaflet 723, already accepted previously by the Sustainable Land Use (SLU) group in the frame of UIC’s Sustainable Development Activities. Additionally, he gave some brief information about the on-going project AT-WOOD, searching for alternatives for the use of creosoted wooden sleepers.
Mr Rodolphe Potvin from SNCF explained the progress of the UIC working groups in which he is the current leader, such as UBM (Under Ballast Mats). Moreover, he also showed an updated and comprehensive overview of the on-going projects on Plastic Sleepers and DEMOSLEEPER “Recommendations for the design and use of monoblock concrete sleepers” which is being undertaken to update UIC Leaflet 713 into a new IRS.
This session was closed by Mr Paul Godart who thanked all participants for the good atmosphere during the day and the active participation of the group and finally congratulated all with a special acknowledgement to Mr Miroslav Durkovský and all ZSR staff for hosting and organising the meeting.
The second day the group of track experts visited a building site near Púchov (Slovak Republic). The construction works aim at modernising 18.7 km of tracks between Púchov and Považská Teplá making trains run up to 160 km/h. This will mean faster journey times between Púchov and Žilina.
The upgrade consists of a reduction of 15% of tracks from 18.7 to 15.9 km including among other structures two tunnels and three bridges. The new railway bridges will stand over the Nosice channel (379 m), the river Váh (288 m), and the Nosice dam (589 m), as well as a new pedestrian bridge over the Nosice channel. The two new tunnels will be constructed in Diel (1 082 m) and Milochov (1 861 m).
Two railway stations at Považská Teplá and Považská Bystrica will be also renewed as part of the project. Between these two stations a level crossing will be replaced by a new overpass.
The project contributes to the development of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and its corridors. Several of those corridors run through Slovakia (Orient-East Mediterranean, Baltic-Adriatic and Rhine-Danube).
The building contractor is the association of contractors “Nimnica” that includes Doprastav, a.s., TSS Grade, a.s., Subterra a.s. and Elektrizace železnic Praha a.s.