On 17 October at the Headquarters of UIC in Paris the final conference of the Shift2Rail JU funded CCA Projects Fine 1 and OPEUS was held. The event was dedicated to the presentation of results achieved by these projects on mitigation of noise and vibration pollutions and reduction of energy consumption by railway systems. The conference gathered around 70 participants from different EU countries. Some of them represented industry and some from academia. Several large railway companies such as Bombardier Transportation, Deutsche Bahn, SNCF, Stadler, Alstom and Universities participated in the Projects. FINE1 is a 38-month project with a budget of €3.017 million, OPEUS is a 36-month project with a budget of €797 000. The aim of the projects was to find the ways to reduce operational costs of railway transport by reducing the energy consumption, noise and vibration pollutions.
With future increases in speed, loading of wagons and the intensity of traffic there will be inevitable increases in noise levels. The future development of railway transportation systems must consider railway noise emission reduction as the most important goal. The main objectives of the projects were to develop the tools for noise prediction and energy consumption calculation. The Conference was divided into two parallel Sessions: FINE1 Session on “Noise” and FINE1 & OPEUS joint session on “Energy”.
The FINE1 Coordinator Haike Brick from Bombardier Transportation, Germany, talked about the importance of the project and what results and achievement the project has reached. Noise levels are continually increasing and most of these increases are due to the increasing amount of transport. Approximately 100 million people in the EU are exposed to noise levels higher than 55dB(A) from road transport, 18 million from rail transportation and 4 million from air transport. Noise reduces the quality of life, disturbs sleep, negatively affects health. Also, financial cost of noise and vibration is quite significant it varies between 0.06% to 1.98% of the country’s GDP.
Noise is one of the most important environmental emissions for people who live next to railway lines. Increasing the railway network, upgrading existing tracks and modifying rolling stock there are a need to look at ways to reduce the noise level produced by railways. People are more and more unwilling to tolerate railway noise. The noise emissions from trains and ways to reduce them is one of the most important subjects of the future development in railway transportation. Reduction of noise and vibration will improve attractiveness and comfort for rail users and as a result will help to shift users from road and planes to railways. The main achievements of the projects were improving the noise prediction, developing tools for cost-efficiency evaluation of mitigation measures and developing of a railway noise demonstrator.
Jenny Böhm from the Technical University of Berlin was Coordinator of the project DESTINATE. Jenny Böhm talked about research and innovation involved in reduction of interior noise of rolling stock. The noise level inside the train is a serious problem for railways and increasing the acoustic comfort for passengers on trains will support to attract more users to the railways. Passengers inside the train are affected by different types of noise: traction noise, rolling and aerodynamic noise. Passenger cars must be designed to reduce noise inside of the passenger saloon by using advanced materials and appropriate design. This research used a few methods to assess sources of noise inside of the carriages such as Operational Transfer Path Analysis, methods investigated noise from heating, ventilation and air condition systems etc. During the project there was assessed and identified many different sources of noise. As a result of the project, simulation and visualisation techniques in virtual reality were created.
The aim of the OPEUS project, coordinated by the University of Newcastle, was to develop a simulation methodology and tools to calculate, assess and optimise the energy consumption of various railway vehicles and their components. The largest improvements can be achieved by reducing the weight of rolling stock, improving the railway infrastructure and motor converters.
OPEUS has been successful in developing a tool able to assess the energy usage implications of introducing technological innovation in rolling stock, with particular emphasis on case studies related to energy storage systems, traction chain losses and quantifying the benefits of solutions being developed by the S2R IPs.
Discussions took place on how to enhance the tool to add further capability to improve scope and accuracy e.g. machine learning algorithms, assessment of thermal aspect.
A draft position paper on the energy outlook for railway systems was presented covering areas such as potential actions underpinned by the Avoid-shift-improve approach, contribution of the work of OPEUS to the objectives of S2R and a set of recommendations to support addressing energy related aspects of railway systems. These can be summarised as the need to have a holistic approach to energy efficiency which will deliver substantial benefits towards decarbonisation.
Current design philosophy for rolling stock is to allow for thirty to forty years of service-life. Very often the rolling stock has been used and after forty years to cover as much mileage as possible for the initial financial spending involved. There is a need to look at the balance between economic benefit and energy consumption. In the future it may be more appropriately cheaper for lightweight, shorter life (15-20 years), low maintenance trains. Shorter lifespan rolling stock will allow faster implementation of new technologies, have more modern trains and it will revitalise the railway manufacturing industry.
The modern world has many transport problems, but also a large variety of initiatives and solutions. This event was a significant step forward to a more sustainable future. The next step will be the project FINE2 which will continue work on reducing noise and vibration pollution and the reduction of energy consumption by the railway systems.
London South Bank University
More information on FINE1 project at:
More information on OPEUS at: http://opeus-project.eu/
More information on DESTINATE at: https://www.destinate-project.tu-berlin.de/menue/destinate/