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Innovative modular brake concepts for the integrated European high-speed railway system

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Standardising for safer, more efficient rail travel

An EU-funded project advanced efforts to achieve interoperability of Europe's railway systems. The focus on standardising brake systems will also reduce operational and maintenance costs.

Climate Change and Environment

One of the most critical and complex elements, especially with regard to safety requirements, is the braking system. Widely ranging brake systems' design, testing, validation and maintenance procedures translate to costs and time-consuming activities that could be done away with. The 'Innovative modular brake concepts for the integrated European high-speed railway system' (Modbrake) project proposed brake system modularisation to resolve these issues. The project brought together major railway operators, European system integrators, research centres, industrial associations and a project management company to achieve its objectives. Modbrake followed in the tracks of the 'Innovative modular vehicle concepts for an integrated European railway system' (Modtrain) project to consider brake systems for high-speed trains. The brake system was divided into individual modules, and specifications for reliable, affordable and interoperable brake systems for each of them were elaborated. In line with the demand for an enhanced design phase and improved life-cycle costs (LCCs), this action also served as input for European standardisation bodies. Modbrake focused its work on matters related to standardisation so as to harmonise specific requirements for the supply and fitting of the main brake modules to the next generation of high-speed trains. Sensitive to issues of competitiveness and technological progress, the consortium focused on standardisation of interchangeable brake modules with regard to function in order to keep them specific to individual manufacturers. Using an LCC toolbox modified from the Modtrain project, researchers concluded that the modification and modularisation of brake system components should aim to cut down on maintenance. This promises beneficial cost reductions throughout the life cycle and could be so great as to compensate for increased acquisition costs. Modbrake developed, tested, evaluated and demonstrated brake module functioning to show the level of compatibility of the interfaces. Project outcomes contribute to the goal of providing Europe's travellers with a safe and affordable railway system.

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