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INNOTRACK — Result In Brief

Project ID: 31415
Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV
Country: France

Keeping Europe on track to cut rail costs

Europe’s rail network offers an environmentally friendly transport alternative to keep Europeans moving. But something needs to be done to bring down the cost of building and maintaining its infrastructure.
Keeping Europe on track to cut rail costs
Rail travel is widely regarded as a vital component in Europe’s emerging sustainable transport network. The European Commission’s White Paper on sustainable transport – which covered the decade between 2001 and 2011 – calls on Europe’s rail operators to double passenger traffic and triple freight traffic by 2020, while simultaneously reducing life-cycle costs (LCC) by 30 %. Achieving these objectives requires not only greater investment but also more research, innovation and technology transfer.

Funded by the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), the ‘Innovative track systems’ (Innotrack) project brought together rail infrastructure managers and industry suppliers to focus on research into the most effective ways of cutting LCC, while improving the rail network’s reliability, availability, maintainability and safety (RAMS) characteristics. The project focused on research in four main areas: track support structures, switches and crossings, rails and logistics for track maintenance and renewal.

Innotrack analysed, across the EU, the root causes (such as failure rates and their causes) of the current high cost of track maintenance and renewal. It turned out that most of the identified significant cost drivers and related root causes where common across Europe, which suggested that a harmonised European approach would be helpful.

Using the data it had collected on common European cost drivers, the project compiled a coherent package of measures that would slash LCC by the desired 30 %. The package covers track support structures, switches and crossings, rails and welding, new logistical processes, LCC methodology and RAMS technology.

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