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NeTIRail-INFRA Report Summary

Project ID: 636237
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NeTIRail-INFRA (Needs Tailored Interoperable Railway)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The Needs Tailored Interoperable Railway project (NeTIRail-INFRA) takes a holistic view of capacity, reliability, customer expectations, and the economics of rail transportation, including understanding the wider economic and societal impact of rail infrastructure investments. NeTIRail-INFRA focuses on infrastructure challenges affecting the large number of people and the large geographical proportion of Europe (especially recent accession countries) that are served by conventional rail lines (only just over 4% of lines in the EU are ‘high speed’, > 200km/h). These conventional lines have huge potential for a step change in productivity and impact to European passengers. NeTIRail-INFRA will focus on unlocking this currently unmet capability.

Technical developments will focus on track, power supply and support of new smart services, using modular solutions with multiple applications in different locations, thereby reducing planning cycles, enabling a lean design process for new installation and retro-fit. Demonstration of real-time monitoring of critical infrastructure components using IT, satellite navigation and broadband telecommunication will also be provided. The accompanying economic and societal impact research is packaged as decision support tools to implement the findings in management of the rail network, differentiating NeTIRail-INFRA from purely technical projects, ensuring its outputs have a real market, and achieve genuine impact. The project will target the Shift2Rail priorities of enhancing capacity, increasing the reliability and quality of services, and reducing life cycle costs – across the rail systems of Europe.

NeTIRail-INFRA aims support society by improving the productivity and economic viability of rail transportation through intelligently tailored infrastructure solutions, linked with the business and financial case to ensure there is an overall net benefit to society and that individual industry players have the right incentives to implement the solutions. The solutions will 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.

NeTIRail-INFRA will support growing passenger demands on already busy areas of the European rail network, and also in areas with the potential for significant future growth. It considers infrastructure in terms of track, power supply, smart monitoring technology and integration of new technology into legacy systems. It considers both societal and economic impacts
of the rail transport network. The five project objectives are:

• Cost-efficient, high-capacity infrastructure: To establish the balance and interaction between 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 will be used to 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, to improve reliability and availability (~20%) at viable cost.

• Holistic and intelligent management: To create decision support tools to achieve installation, maintenance and inspection of infrastructure appropriate to a specific line type, thereby supporting growth at lowest investment and ongoing cost. 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.
Proposals for changes to incentives regimes to support implementation of technical solutions will be developed.

• Lean implementation strategies: To deliver training documentation and workshops for infrastructure owners, rail operators and maintenance contractors to improve productivity of already busy services, and support future growth of under utilised lines, through appropriate technology choices (targeting capacity utilisation in range 70-90%). Deliver decision support tools to support adoption of project findings, with guidelines and input to revision of standards where this is needed.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Significant progress has been towards all of these objectives in the first period. Case study lines have been selected and economic, technical and geographical data has been collected for the case study lines, data collected on economic incentives and demand, and surveys completed to collect passenger data on the case study lines in Romania, Slovenia and Turkey.
Cost effective infrastructure for different types of lines has been identified within deliverables D2.1 and D2.2 for track and D3.1, D3.2 and D3.3 for overhead line, these have helped to identify of the current technologies and design characteristics which are most appropriate to the different NeTIRail-INFRA case study line types.
Models for transitions zones, overhead line and for corrugation have been developed which will lead to improved designs, maintenance strategies and optimal characteristics.
Sensor and monitoring technology is being developed and demonstrations have begun for the TUDelft ABA system in Romania. Track, overhead line, locomotive power, and passenger comfort monitoring has been designed and demonstrations of these technologies will begin shortly. These monitoring devices will help to validate models and be used for the optimisation of maintenance strategies.
Plans have been developed and data collected for lean optimisation of switch and crossing maintenance and design. All of this work produced will feed into the decision support tools being developed within WP6.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The project has progressed beyond the state of art in several areas
- the understanding and modelling of corrugations
- modelling of overhead line
- modelling of transition zones
- development of axle box acceleration monitoring for in service trains and interpretation of the results for detection of light squats
- development of overhead line and track acceleration sensors for the validation of models and remote condition monitoring
- identification of appropriate track and overhead line technologies suited to particular line types
These innovations will lead to optimised infrastructure and maintenance regimes to suit specific line types depending upon their traffic types, leading to the most appropriate technologies and maintenance being applied for 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.

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