Information published on 27 March 2012 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 284.

MAINLINE project

  • Infrastructure
  • Research

On 20 and 21 March a general meeting on the MAINLINE project, led and coordinated by UIC, was held in Luleå, in the north of Sweden, bringing together 37 participants from all 19 participating partners. MAINLINE receives funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme [FP7/2007-2013].
Growth in demand for rail transportation 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. MAINLINE proposes to address all these issues through a series of linked work packages that will target at least €300m per year savings across Europe with a reduced environmental footprint in terms of embodied carbon and other environmental benefits.

General objectives of MAINLINE

  • Improvements to make rail infrastructure more cost-effective is a necessity in order to make rail transport more competitive
  • The predicted increase in traffic on existing old rail infrastructure will result in increased rates of degradation track and structures assets
  • Balancing the economic and environmental costs generated by the maintenance and renewal of existing infrastructure is much more difficult than building new infrastructure
  • A tool to assist railway administrations to balance these various considerations is therefore important
  • Emerging research indicates potential for a major step forward

The main idea of the MAINLINE project is to develop methods and tools that will contribute to a more cost-efficient and effective improvement impact from track and infrastructure maintenance and renewal based on whole life considerations.

  • Facilitate the use of improved assessment and life extension without increasing risk
  • Improve existing damage and deterioration mechanisms and 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 for determining the whole life environmental and economic impact

The consortium includes leading railways, contractors, consultants and researchers from across Europe, including from both Eastern Europe and the emerging economies. Partners also bring experience on approaches used in other industry sectors which have relevance to the rail sector.

Project benefits will come from keeping existing infrastructure safely in service through the application of technologies and interventions based on life cycle considerations. Although MAINLINE will focus on certain asset types, the management tools developed will be applicable across a broader asset base.
During the meeting the situation of the project was presented. All WPs in the project were presented and the review after six months is that the project has started successfully, showing good performance by the partners. MAINLINE is fully under control.

You can consult the MAINLINE website at: www.mainline-project.eu

For more information please contact Bjorn Paulsson: bjorn.paulsson@trafikverket.se