Track stability and prevention of buckling

Start: 2018-01-1

End: 2019-12-31

Project code: 2018/RSF/571

Project director: Marc ANTONI

Project manager: Harald SATTLER

The use of the CWR- “Continuous Welded Rail” Track has increased consistently worldwide thanks to its many advantage, over the conventional jointed rail track in terms of, for example, the reduction of maintenance costs or the increase of life cycle of track components.

Although the restriction of “free” movement of the CWR induces high thermal stresses (compressive forces) which, in combination with dynamic effects of the vehicles can affect the track stability and cause the buckling of the railroad track structure.

CWR track stability has been a subject in previous research activities and specific tools have been developed for evaluating the likelihood of track buckling. Nevertheless,
- The parameters and limit values affecting track stability are not described in detail,
- Difficulties are found in the use of the models developed, due to the unknown input parameters needed or because they are not opened to the potential users, the Infrastructure Managers,
- Monitoring techniques to ensure track stability are out of date,
- Related outcomes for maintenance practices (in track, S&Cs, bridges, tunnels…) are rarely defined,
- When safety assessment approaches are defined, at the end the IMs area left to fate; each IM must determine its own acceptable level of risk, which the consequent heterogeneity of criteria.

The project aims at analyzing the key parameters affecting the CWR track stability, harmonizing the monitoring techniques and defining their “allowable” range of values. The calculation method for the prevention of track buckling will be updated and specific guidelines and recommendations (including design and maintenance requirements) intended to ensure the track stability and prevent the buckling of the track will be drafted based on the current track components and maintenance practices.

Additionally, the project will contribute to the reduction of incidents (and the consequent maintenance cost saving) due to track buckling.

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