Rail mass transit vehicles which are defined as 'trams, light rail, metros' do very often not behave as expected when running on the existing rail infrastructure, although the vehicles may well be fully compatible with the specifications of the buying authorities and they may well have passed the acceptance tests. A particular vehicle may perform well in one particular network and the same vehicle can show important problems in another network. Many operators have different types of vehicles on their infrastructure. Most operators have also different types of track systems in their network. They want the different existing and future vehicles to perform well in their complete existing and future network. This is one of the reasons why most vehicles today are built to local specifications. It is mandatory to first solve some major track related problems before to be able to increase the technical harmonisation for vehicles and hence the potential of these vehicles to be used in other cities. The advantages will be enormous: higher residual value of vehicles, higher scope for vehicle leasing, higher vehicle production series and hence reduction of manufacturing cost and production lead times. The major track related problems which are to be identified and solved are: ? the reduction of the track degradation in time for ensuring a minimum track quality level; ? the avoidance of derailment for ensuring the safety at all times; ? the improvement of the wheel/rail interface for reducing maintenance; ? the minimisation of noise and in particular structure borne noise and vibrations. The study (problem identification and solution) of the above track related problems is the scope of this research project. Solutions will be sought which are effective for existing and future vehicle types albeit that some vehicle (wheel set) adaptations might be recommended or required'.
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