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Needs Tailored Interoperable Railway

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NeTIRail-INFRA (Needs Tailored Interoperable Railway)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2018-05-31

NeTIRail-INFRA’s aim was to support society by improving the productivity and economic viability of rail transportation through tailored infrastructure solutions. The solutions address growing demand for already busy services, and future growth of under utilised (“low density”) lines, with technical solutions for track, power supply and support of new smart services.

The project objectives were:

• Cost-efficient, high-capacity infrastructure: To balance investment cost, recurring operational cost, component life, and maintenance requirements for infrastructure to achieve the best societal and economic outcomes for different categories of railway. Case studies focus this study on three categories of line: (i) a busy capacity limited passenger railway, (ii) under utilised rural/secondary “low density” line, and (iii) a freight dominated route.
• Improve the reliability and availability of rail operations: To tailor technical infrastructure solutions appropriate to each line category (i) to (iii) for track and overhead line power supply
• Holistic and intelligent management: To create decision support tools for installation, maintenance and inspection of infrastructure appropriate to a specific line type. Support the decision making tools with smart network monitoring and through integration of smart technology with the infrastructure, using methods appropriate for the line type and resources of the railway operation.
• Economics of rail transportation: To tailor technical solutions to take account of the incentives structures operating in different EU railway systems, and also the vastly different funding, institutional and regulatory environments under which different rail systems operate.

Conclusions of the action:

All of the project objectives have been achieved. The project has identified, developed and tested new technologies which will lead towards low cost railway infrastructure, specifically to support lesser used railway lines to reduce their reliance on subsidies and support the survival of these lines. The technologies have been assessed for their economic and societal impact and a decision support tool has been developed to aid infrastructure managers in implementing the most appropriate technologies for their needs.
Overview of the results:

WP1 analysed the cost-benefits for the technical innovations within the project, demonstrating the net financial benefit. The analysis also identified the non-monetised benefits such as reduced delays, improved safety and comfort. Incentives for the rail industry to implement innovation was also studied.

The innovations of WP2 aimed at improving existing track, these include:
- Optimal track technologies for different lines types
- Lean techniques for optimising the process when repairing or replacing existing switches & crossings.
- Tailoring track to avoid corrugation - a theoretical understanding of what causes short pitch corrugation and suggesting changes in the track
- Optimal lubrication strategies were developed based on location, line type and climate
- Low cost transition zone designs were modelled and evaluated

WP3 developed the following technologies for supporting the understanding of overhead line dynamics and refining system models
- On board current and voltage measurement system
- Overhead line accelerometers
- High speed video data gathering from pantograph and overhead line contact
Trolley wire systems were modelled to investigate the potential for a low cost overhead line system with simpler construction.

WP4 Monitoring and Smart Technology included the following innovations, which were demonstrated in Brasov and AFER in Romania, Slovenia and Turkey.
- Track acceleration monitoring system for plain line and S&C
- Axle box acceleration monitoring system for in service vehicles for identifying even minor track defects
- Dynamic axle box measurements in Slovenia for in service vehicle track monitoring
-Smartphone sensors application - used for infrastructure monitoring from within passenger vehicles
-Upgrading old Centralised Electro Mechanical interlocking systems to enable status to be wirelessly transmitted
- Tailored decision support through conversion of data to information

WP5 assessed the societal impact of railway innovations and created a methodology to be used beyond the scope of the NeTIRail-INFRA project. The expected impact of the innovations developed were assessed for case study lines in Romania, Slovenia and Turkey. This was mainly based on results of a passengers’ survey carried out in the three countries, with more than 1,000 questionnaires results.
Within WP6 a web based GIS decision support tool has been developed which allows the display of infrastructure data, as well as additional user data and the creation of custom formula to demonstrate the cost impacts and societal assessment of the NeTIRail-INFRA innovations.

Results dissemination and exploitation:
Dissemination activities have taken place through the project and include peer review journal papers, a mid-term and final conference, training workshops for WP4 and WP6, user group workshops and articles in the UIC e-news newsletter, on social media and within relevant railway journals, as well as at various regional workshops and at international conferences and events. Videos of demonstrations and presentations are available from the website and YouTube.
The project results received a high exploitation uptake, with the ABA system developed by TU Delft, will be further developed in collaboration with NS and ProRail. UIC will continue to develop and maintain the web based decision support tool and the models for corrugation developed by TU Delft will form the basis of further work.
The project has progressed beyond the state of art in several areas:

- the understanding and modelling of corrugations
- modelling of overhead line and development of new designs for low capital cost
- lean for assessing and optimising S&C maintenance and renewal
- modelling of transition zones and the development of a low cost solution to reduce track degradation
- development of axle box acceleration monitoring for in-service trains
- overhead line and track acceleration sensors
- identification of appropriate track and overhead line technologies suited to particular line types
- development of cost benefit, wider economic impact and social impact assessment methodologies
- development of a decision support tool

Socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project:

The economic and societal benefits of the innovations have been assessed and in each case they provide positive economic benefits, and for most of the innovations very low capital investment costs.
These innovations will lead to optimised infrastructure and maintenance regimes to suit specific line types depending upon their traffic and passenger demands, leading to minimising costs and improving passenger satisfaction. Large reductions in maintenance costs will also allow for funding to be deployed in improving passenger comfort, expanding the railway network or reducing subsidies or fares, and lead to greater economic sustainability of lesser used lines helping communities to stay connected and improving access for remote communities to education, health care, work and leisure activities.