Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


CAPACITY4RAIL Report Summary

Project ID: 605650
Funded under: FP7-TRANSPORT
Country: France

Periodic Report Summary 2 - CAPACITY4RAIL (Increasing Capacity 4 Rail networks through enhanced infrastructure and optimised operations)

Project Context and Objectives:
High objectives and expectations are put on railway transport, to be able to take a full part and respond to the upcoming growing demand for both passenger mobility and freight traffic.
In 2011, the White Paper on European Transport reasserted how fundamental transport was for society, for the mobility of European citizens and for the growth and vitality of the European economy. The Paper assigned ambitious challenges to the transport system, in terms of development, durability and competitiveness.

Rail has a major role to face theses challenges in this transport system of tomorrow. The railway system has to take a leap forward in competitiveness, and complete its change toward efficiency, sustainability, and integration. Therefore, efforts must be focused on increasing the attractiveness of Rail System.

The Capacity4Rail (C4R) project aims at bringing today’s railway system to this future vision for 2030/2050. Five major criteria have been defined that describe the 2050 railway and against which the innovative developments will be assessed. The future railway system should be affordable, adaptable, automated, resilient and high-capacity.

With this vision, Capacity4Rail aims at offering an affordable increase of capacity, availability and performance to the railway system, by developing a holistic view on the railway as a system of interacting technical components driven by customer demand.

This plan is addressed by different ways:
o A more efficient use of existing resources, by optimizing operating strategies, enhancing traffic planning, improving transshipment procedures and improving automation and operational procedures to reduce the time needed to recover from traffic disruption (see later SP3).

o A reduction of the non-operational capacity-consumers, through the design of resilient, reliable and low-maintenance infrastructure and vehicles, non-intrusive inspection, fast renewal and construction processes (see later SP1, SP2 and SP4).

o An increase of the performance of existing resources, through significant improvements of wagons maneuverability and equipment to answer freight customers’ needs for higher reliability and performance (see later SP2).

To this end, a coordinated approach is needed, in which combined progresses in infrastructure, freight system, operation techniques and monitoring technologies are defined and pushed further in a system vision. Besides, Capacity4Rail will define a comprehensive roadmap to describe the necessary steps to develop and implement innovation and to progress from the current state-of-the-art to a shared global vision of the 2050 railway along realistic scenarios.
The Capacity4Rail project is a continuation of and a contribution to the research and development effort of the European railway community, building on development of previous projects. The project builds on previous results and will deliver both technical demonstrations and system wide guidelines and recommendations that will be the basis for future research and investments.
In addition, the demonstration activities play a crucial role in Capacity4Rail as they enable the assessment of the innovations developed in the project, which will serve to identify room for improvement and will guide their further development.
Capacity4Rail is being developed by 46 partners from 13 countries. The consortium features a good balance between rail operators, infrastructure managers, suppliers and SMEs, academies and universities.

Project Results:
SP1 “Infrastructure” SP1 is focusing on developing low maintenance and modular designs of slab tracks for mixed traffic, understanding the current obstacles to VHS-very high speed traffic. Two new slab track concepts have been generated. Innovative track designs, such as the combination of pads and under sleeper pads for VHS trains are being analyzed on the basis of numerical simulation and real scale laboratory tests. Besides, the behavior and structural dynamical effects of bridges due to VHS trains have been investigated during test campaigns in a line in service. Demostrators of S&C have begun.

SP2 “New Concepts for Efficient Freight Systems” Whose goal is to develop the rail freight system of the future. The requirements of an efficient freight rail system which can fulfill the EU targets in 2030/2050 have been determined. 4 components of an integrated freight system have been investigated: vehicles, network, terminals and operational aspects. The current state of the art is identified for each and the changes necessary to achieve the EU goals are defined in the short, medium and long term.
The design the rail freight vehicles of the future; design to enhance its carrying capacity, along with the braking system to increase safety, train length and failure detection in order to enable more reliable paths for rail freight on the network is being determined.
The identification of a set of Key Performance Indicators by terminal typology and the innovations to be included in a consolidated scenario for each of them to increase the global efficiency of logistic chains has been carried out.

SP3 “Operation for enhanced capacity”. SP3 is developing tools for supporting decisions during planning and operations of railway networks. A capability trade-offs framework to assess the impact that a given innovation and an operational change will have on network capabilities has been developed.
Best practices currently used across EU to handle large disruptions have been analysed. Automation levels are assessed together with possibilities for improving process criticalities and achieve effective disruption handling. Different sources and formats of data used across the intermodal transportation network to exchange traffic information for modelling, simulation, planning, operation as well as monitoring have been reviewed. Specifications for developing appropriate architectural frameworks for distributed processing in operations have been set.

SP4 “Advance monitoring”. Whose objective is to develop new concepts for railway structural and operational monitoring, in order to enhance the availability of the track, combined with automated maintenance forecasts and a prediction of the structural lifetime.
New concepts for low maintenance infrastructure have been proposed. Non-intrusive innovative monitoring techniques or self-monitoring infrastructure, allowing low or no impact are being investigated.
Specific monitoring requirements and techniques for the new infrastructure elements including built in technologies and plug & play have been looked at and an analysis of the interaction/interference between sensors and infrastructure elements made.

SP5 “System assessment and migration”. SP5 ensures a whole-system approach across the SPs. Scenarios and migration paths are being developed for some sections to demonstrate the migration from the actual to the future state.
A methodology and tool for Multi Criteria Assessment (MCA) to access the results of C4R with respect to the global targets of the project is being developed.
The demonstrators play a crucial role in C4R as they enable the assessment of the innovations developed in the project. D55.1-55.2 “Test Plan Demo and Risk Assessment” gather the planned demonstrators The total budget of the Demonstrators is 1.895.633 €.
The results of the project will be summarized in a guideline that indicates the paths and areas for further research and developments.

Potential Impact:
C4R will bring a step improvement in EU rail network capacity, for both passengers and freight, using innovative techniques to deliver adaptable, automated, resilient and affordable solutions. C4R will provide both technical demonstrations and system-wide guidelines and recommendations that will be the basis for future research and investment, increasing the capacities of the rail networks.

Overall, C4R will provide societal benefits throughout the European community through: improved network reliability and resilience, lower costs of design, construction, operation and maintenance, effective utilization of the infrastructure reduced noise and carbon emissions, significantly increased capacity.

Along the progress carries out, the following results are expected:
o New railway track and switch and crossing concepts will be developed with high RAMS performance and low cost of design, construction and maintenance as key objectives.
o Modular construction will allow generic components to be manufactured in large numbers, allowing simple, rapid, low-cost installation.
o The new designs, by utilizing recycled materials and delivering low noise and carbon emissions in construction and operation will benefit society.
o Improvements to the design of rail freight will pave the way to allow blending of rail passenger and freight traffic and enable improved overall system performance.
o Lighter weight rolling stock will reduce energy usage, provide lower energy costs and reduced carbon emissions, and minimise track damage, lowering maintenance costs and network downtime.
o Novel transhipment technologies will help to reduce constraints at transport hubs and nodes, lower the cost of access to rail freight services, making them more attractive economically and hence encourage modal shift to rail from more carbon-intensive transport modes.
o New adaptable, autonomous operational techniques will contribute to the core objective of increasing available and useable capacity across the network, ensuring that fixed infrastructure assets are delivering value for money and meeting performance requirements.
o Improving operations to significant improve the resilience and reliability of the rail network, at both a system and service level, will encourage passenger modal shift, reducing productivity loss from system failures and ensuring that rail travel is seen as a dependable and cost-effective alternative to other transport modes.
o Novel traffic management techniques will also allow the optimisation of train movements for smooth, energy-efficient operations, lowering energy cost and environmental impacts.
o New strategies based on innovative sensors, low-current technologies, energy harvesting for power supply and wireless networks for data transmission will contribute to the reduction of efforts and costs in the monitoring activities enhancing the availability of the track.
o New concepts for monitoring in embankments, structures, different types of track and components (f.ex. S&C) will improve the knowledge of the track and subgrade behavior, promoting an automated maintenance forecasts and a prediction of the structural lifetime.
Technical and economical assessment of technologies, roadmaps and migration scenarios, necessary to meet the target system will support the cost effective implementation of necessary technologies. The project builds the base for an economic driven decision of improvements.

The link between operation, infrastructure and freight ensures a goal-oriented and improvement of the system to provide more capacity and thereby more turnover and benefit.

The analysis of future requirements and the link to other transport modes ensures a target system, that is cost effective and meets the future requirements of the customers.

List of Websites:

Reported by



Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top