Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


TURNOUTS — Result In Brief

Project ID: 505592
Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV
Country: Belgium

A smoother urban rail experience

A team of European researchers has contributed to improved railway turnout systems. These are critical pieces of equipment in railway infrastructure, and their fault-free operation stands to benefit the industry overall.
A smoother urban rail experience
The 'New concepts for turnouts in urban rail transit infrastructure' (Turnouts) project contributed to improvements in vehicle-track interactions through the design and manufacture of new construction concepts for rail infrastructure. Partners focused on the turnout systems for urban rail transit, achieving improvements in quality, efficiency and safety levels, and lowering required maintenance as well as noise output.

Working with the frog and switch point systems, project members considered a number of alternative turnouts to the modern conventional one of tangential geometry design, equipped with clothoid transition curves.

Activities involved conceiving new measures to reduce impact forces, producing modelling procedures for determining the impact forces of turnout systems, and optimising and manufacturing new turnout systems. Researchers chose seven test sites with different characteristics to evaluate the new turnout systems and their selected design measures with regard to the reduction of impact force. A specific design was selected for each test site according to cost, overall technical performance, and end-user and manufacturer preferences.

The models were validated on three different reference turnouts; data comparison showed that the project realised its target of 3 dB noise emission on impact. Performance was considered as successful, considering the 50 % reduction of impact forces for most of the models.

The Turnouts project thus achieved a major technical breakthrough in the design of turnout systems for urban rail, with solutions being offered that are immediately applicable and available.

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