The second TEG plenary meeting held this year coincided with the annual autumn celebration and was held at the headquarters of Czech Railways (SŽDC) in Prague’s Old Town, very close to the central station. The meeting took place on 25 and 26 September, with a technical visit on the following day, and was hosted by Mr Taborsky of SŽDC.
Wednesday’s opening session was launched by TEG Chairman, Mr Paul Godart, and TEG Secretary, Mr Kurt Demeersseman. It was entirely devoted to various technical subjects, such as a review and exchange of members’ practices, an update on the current status and progress of new and revised leaflets, ongoing projects and new project proposals. Information on the administrative and technical elements required to advance and progress on some of these tasks was provided during the session, all of which related specifically to track.
An expert from PKP reported on practices for inspections of switches and crossings in Poland. General practices for track maintenance were presented by experts from DB, and this subject will be revisited at the next session.
Presentations followed from Trafikverket, SNCF, Infrabel, ProRail and RFI, with explanations from the experts of regulations for speed restrictions due to track works, including the different rules and actions to be observed.
Mr Laurent Schmitt, Chairman of the UIC Standardisation Platform, explained the current processes for standardisation at UIC, including a detailed description of the role of UIC standardisation and tasks within Europe and the rest of the world. His presentation was considered very useful by the participants, clarifying the internal coordination process and cooperation with other international standardisation and safety organisations, including the various frameworks for collaboration and the existing agreements in place.
Mr Rodolphe Potvin of SNCF explained the progress of UIC working groups on UBM (under ballast mats) and plastic sleepers in which is the current leader. Agreement was also reached in relation to the next steps for publication of the TLR (Lateral Track Resistance) document.
The draft of the new IRS 70719 - a revision of UIC Leaflet 719 - was presented by the working group leader, Mr José Estaire from CEDEX, and was then briefly discussed. Members of the TEG can send comments before the next meeting, to take place in Madrid. The final presentation will be at the next meeting in Paris in January 2019.
Mr Björn Paulsson of Chalmers University of Technology contributed with a presentation on the current situation in relation to jointed track in Europe, including an examination of both the In2Track and In2Smart initiatives, part of the Shift2Rail innovation project.
In addition, Mr Bernhard Knoll from ÖBB presented the first steps in relation to the StableTrack project, which he is currently leading. The project was initiated in order to update UIC Leaflet 720 on protection of CWR track against buckling into an IRS. Ms Clara Zamorano and Mr Pablo Jiménez of the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) outlined the content of the first work package in the MILA project, which is almost complete.
The first day concluded with administrative and technical information from Mr Villalmanzo on publication of IRS 70712, progress on vegetation management tasks in the UIC Sustainability Unit, as well as the new 2019 opt-in project proposal, AT-WOOD, which involves looking for alternative uses for wooden sleepers with creosote.
The second day began with a detailed presentation of SZDC’s new NDT (non-destructive testing) rail measurement vehicle. Self-propelled and comprising three coaches, this train has three different rail profile measurement systems, including automated digital video surface inspection, ultrasonic probes on skids at various angles for internal defect detection and an innovative eddy current system to detect head-checks and other rail surface defects. A live onboard demonstration was performed, measuring and displaying the results of the detection in real time.
This second session was closed by Mr Godart, who thanked all of the participants for the positive atmosphere that had characterised the sessions and for their participation. In particular, he acknowledged Mr Taborsky and all of the SZDC staff for hosting and organising the meeting.