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Heat treatment of rail welded joints in induction units

The technology and equipment used in Russia for the heat treatment and welding (flash butt, thermit, arc bath) of rails is presented. Induction units are used for heat hardening of rail welded joints; the specification for an induction unit is given. Recommendations have been drawn up for welded rails (IIW/IIS Doc. III-1127-98) and for welded rails with differentiated heat treatment of joints (IIW/IIS III-1128-98), in which strength, ductility and rectilinearity of joints, and fields of applications for rails, welded by different processes, are specified.

Genkin I Z

The Paton Welding Journal, no.9. Sept.2003. pp.38-41. 2 fig., 1 tab.

Effect of rare earth on the internal friction spectrum of the tread area of the BNb rail steel

The Snoek-Ke-Koster (SKK) peaks (internal friction) of specimens of BNb and BNbRE rail steel (laid for one year after hot rolling and RT deformed after treatment at 700°C for 30 min.) were investigated. Peaks were found to differ, with the former rail steel being higher (+20°C) and wider; a Snoek peak was found in BNbRE but not in BNb. SKK peaks in deformed specimens of both steels were similar. Tests on these steels in use for over two years were considerably different from one year old specimens. [In Chinese]

Ji J W et al

Acta Metallurgica Sinica, vol.39, no.11. pp.1219-1222. 5 fig., 1 tab., 13 ref.

Method and system for processing rail testing data

Brief details of a new US patent (US6594591), granted to Robin Clark et al., concerning a computer-based data processing system, for use in conjunction with a rail discontinuity detection unit containing a number of sensor units, are given.

Materials Evaluation, vol.61, no.11. Nov.2003. p.1205.

Stretched rail gaps

A newly patented technique for dealing with broken rails (US6515249), developed by Harsco Track Technologies (USA), is briefly described. In order not to introduce a different 'neutral rail temperature' (the temperature at which the rail was originally installed and tensioned) by the introduction of a repair strip, Harsco cut out the defect with the minimum of rail loss, machine the rail ends to match, then pull the rails until they meet; the final gap is secured with a single weld. A 300 tonne rail puller is employed.

New Scientist, vol.180, no.2419. p.25.

Spending accelerating since crash

Following the crash at Hatfield in October 2000, UK state aid to the railways accelerated. By 2001 railway aid amounted to nearly two-thirds of all subsidies, having risen from 3.3bn euros in 1997 to 6.8bn euros in 2001.

Financial Times. 13 Jan.2004. p.6.

Rail authority considers reinstating shelved west coast main line projects

The Strategic Rail Authority is examining the possibility of going ahead with the remodelling of Rugby station and the construction of more tracks between Rugby and Stafford as part of the prime work to be undertaken on the west coast main line upgrade. The SRA is of the opinion that the whole project will not work if elements are removed, such as the alleviation of the severe bottleneck at Rugby. The two latter elements of the project were to be postponed, according to Tom Winsor, the rail regulator, in order to save money. This is being reviewed.

Financial Times. 17/18 Jan.2004. p.2.

Railways celebrate carrying 1bn people in a year

For the first time in 30 years the UK's railway system has carried a billion passengers. Passengers travelled 40.1bn km in the year 1 Oct.2002-30 Sept.2003, the highest figure for 56 years.

Financial Times. 29 Dec.2003. p.2.

ProRail predicts RCF [rolling contact fatigue] hotspots

Key factors contributing to the development of RCF have been identified by ProRail from an analysis of inspection data. A prediction methodology to allow the cost-effective management of the problem has been developed and is detailed.

M Hiensch; A Watson

Railway Gazette International, vol.160, no.1. Jan.2004. pp.38-40. 5 fig., 1 tab., 5 ref.

Head-hardened rail put to the test

In-track testing of the rolling contact fatigue resistance of head-hardened and as-rolled steel rails is being carried out by Voestalpine Schienen and Deutsche Bahn (German Railway). An effective grinding strategy is being developed from the tests for different rail grades. Head checks, corrugation, squats and Belgrospis (clusters of cracks found in conjunction with corrugation defects) are discussed and the future role of bainitic rails is considered.

G Girsch; R Heyder

Railway Gazette International, vol.160, no.1. Jan.2004. pp.42-44. 7 fig., 2 tab., 7 ref.

'Co-opetition' across national borders vital to future of Europe's high-speed railway services

The need for national rail companies to persuade their governments to invest in the doubling of Europe's high speed network by 2010 is considered. In order to win passengers from airlines on longer-distance routes commanding higher rail fares, an integrated service is required, which will rely on compatible technologies, safety rules and allowing the use of lines by competing companies. SNCF (France), Ferrovie dello Stato (Italy) and Deutsche Bahn (Germany) are jointly commissioning a high speed train.

Financial Times. 2 Jan.2004. p.6.

Remove rail safety from HSE, says ex-director

The former director of rail safety at the Health and Safety Executive, Alan Osborne, has told a parliamentary committee that he thinks rail safety regulation should be moved to the Office of Rail Regulation, as the HSE does not have the expertise to monitor the rail industry. This statement was made at the Future of the Railways enquiry.

Financial Times. 9 Jan.2004. p.4.

Regulator overruled on West Coast line upgrade

The Strategic Rail Authority has instructed Network Rail to proceed with the £9.9bn upgrade of the London-Glasgow West Coast main line as planned. It has been agreed that the project will not be changed in the short term, despite the rail regulator's decision that certain aspects of the project should be postponed. The SRA intends to shift funds from other sections of its budget as necessary. The position of the project will be review in March.

Financial Times. 22 Dec.2003. p.2.

EN 14811-1

Draft British Standard 03/318982 DC for public comment. BS 14811-1: Railway applications. Track. Special purpose rail. Part 1: Grooved and associated construction.

[BSI] Update Standards. Jan.2004. p.42.

Method, transducer wheel and discontinuity detection system for ultrasonic detecting railroad rails

A new US patent, covering a wheel type ultrasonic discontinuity detection system, is summarised. (US patent no.6604421.)

Materials Evaluation, vol.61, no.12. Dec.2003. p.1293.

Track monitor reveals flaws

The Microlog, developed by Dr Jarek Rosinski (University of Newcastle) and his son, Martin, is briefly described. The device, about the size of a matchbox, contains satellite technology. Fixed to train axles, it can detect abnormal stresses caused by defects, sending a warning signal to a remote computer giving details of the precise location of the problem. Trials are underway to use the device to monitor track defects.

Railnews, no.82. Dec.2003. p.8.

£640M funding withheld from rail upgrade

The west coast main line is to be upgraded to carry trains at 125 mph to Glasgow by the end of 2005. However Network Rail has been instructed by the rail regulator to delay the remodelling of a bottleneck at Rugby, and the upgrading of the route between Rugby and Stafford, in order to spread costs.

Financial Times. 13/14 Dec.2003. p.16.

Rail tunnel to link Europe with Africa

A 39 km rail tunnel is to be built under the Mediterranean Sea between Morocco and Spain. The Strait of Gibraltar at the chosen construction point is only 300 m deep.

Financial Times. 15 Dec.2003. p.10.

BS EN 13674

BS EN 13674 Railway applications. Track. Rail. Part 1:2003 Vignole railway rails 46 kg/m and above.

[BSI] Update Standards. Dec.2003. p.11.

BS EN 14730

BS EN 14730-1 Railway applications. Track. Aluminothermic welding of rails. Part 1: Approval of welding processes. (Draft British standard 03/317632 DC.)

[BSI] Update Standards. Dec.2003. p.38.

Plan to cut west coast rail upgrade

As a result of pressure to reduce the cost of the west coast main line upgrade, Network Rail has proposed £750M in cuts (from a total budget of £9.9bn). The changes proposed are designed not to seriously affect future journey times nor to delay the project. Rail industry leaders are discussing the suggestions.

Financial Times. 8 Dec.2003. p.1.

SRA announces latest franchise progress

Second-term franchises announced by the Strategic Rail Authority are listed.

Modern Railways, vol.60, no.663. Dec.2003. p.8.

Channel Tunnel Rail Link section 1: Track and power supply

Section 1 of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), from the tunnel to Fawkham Junction, uses a ballasted track with UIC60 rails on composite sleepers. The route has a number of tight bends and needs to be suitable for all speeds of rail traffic. Track alignment, gauge and cant, track components (continuously welded rail - flash butt shop welds and aluminothermic on-site welds), construction and maintenance, and traction power supply are described.

Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. vol.156, special issue no.2. Nov.2003. pp.60-63.

Bowker launches case for rail

The Strategic Rail Authority has published a brochure 'Everyone's railway: the wider case for rail', in which the benefits of rail transport to the whole country are set out. The publication shows how rail travel is far safer than travel by road, and more reliable; how 18,725 passenger trains operate every day - travelling more miles than pre-Beeching; and how everyone benefits from the industries and services than need the rail industry to operate.

Modern Railways, vol.60, no.662. Nov.2003. p.7.

Stoke track quality forced opening postponement

The delay in opening a newly restored section of the west coast mainline, due to problems with track quality, is explained. The Stoke blockade used a new mobile flash butt welding road/railer plant, producing excellent weld quality.

Modern Railways, vol.60, no.662. Nov.2003. pp.28-29.

Network Rail set for major shake-up/Priority for operators as Network Rail restructures

Network Rail is planning a major overhaul of the way it is organised. Abandoning the regional structure, it will be divided according to staff function. As of April 2004, the company will be in three sections - engineering, maintenance and operations, and customer services. Operations staff will share offices with maintenance and with train operators' staff to improve co-ordination. The seven regions are to be restructured into eight routes. Certain layers of management will go.

Financial Times. 4 Nov.2003. pp.1,4.

[New standard Drafts for Public Comment]

prEN 13231-1 Railway applications. Track. Acceptance of works. Part 1: Works on track. Plain line. (Draft British standard 03/16446 DC.)
prEN 13231-2 Railway applications. Track. Acceptance of works. Part 2: Works on track. Switches and crossings. (Draft British standard 03/316447 DC.)
BS EN 13231-3 Railway applications. Track. Acceptance of works. Part 3: Acceptance of rail grinding, milling and planning work in track.

[BSI] Update Standards. Nov.2003. p.38.

[New European standard]

EN 13674-1:2003 Railway applications. Track. Rail. Part 1: Flat bottomed symmetrical railway rails 46 kg/m and above.

[BSI] Update Standard. Nov.2003. p.42.

Rail track field testing using laser/air hybrid ultrasonic technique

Laser generation has been combined with air coupled ultrasonic detection to form a technique capable of locating elusive rail discontinuities, such as vertical split head and rail base cracks. Results of tests carried out at the Rail Defect Test Facility at the U.S. Transportation Technology Center are reported. 100% detection of vertical split head defects and 90% of rail base cracks were achieved. Mounted on a railway pushcart, the noncontact and remote nature of the device allows flexible and high speed testing. Details of the experiments and equipment are presented.

Kenderian S et al

Materials Evaluation, vol.61, no.10. Oct.2003. pp.1129-1133. 7 fig., 3 tab., 16 ref.

Rail defects: an overview

An overview of rail defects and their consequences, from the earliest days of railways to the present, is presented. The advent and development of steel rail, rail stresses (bending, shear, wheel/rail contact, thermal, residual stresses and dynamic effects); modern rail failure; rolling contact fatigue (RCF); heavy haul aspects; rail failures and accidents; rail lifetime; the costs of rail failure; rail defect management; rail inspection; rail grinding for the control of RCF; rail failure modelling; and the probabilistic simulation of rail failure are discussed.

Cannon D F et al

Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, vol.26, no.10. Oct.2003. pp.865-886. 13 fig., 6 tab., 73 ref.

Simulating of wheel-rail contact forces

The forces (gravitational stiffness, creep, vertical) that develop in the contact zone between the wheel and rail are summarised. The ways that these forces affect the behaviour of rolling stock running on straight and curved track (vertical and lateral forces leading to derailment and wheel unloading) are explained and the methods used to calculate and utilise the forces are considered. Results from a computer simulation of a typical UK passenger train are presented as an illustration; aspects of this are examined.

Iwnicki S

Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, vol.26, no.10. Oct.2003. pp.887-900. 15 fig.,12 ref.

The wheel-rail interface - some recent accidents

The wheel-rail interface and its importance to the safe operation of railways is discussed. Following a brief history of rails and wheels, some recent accidents (Eschede (Germany), Sandy, Hatfield, Potters Bar) are described. The role of rail contact fatigue and gauge corner cracking is considered, and the importance of good track condition is emphasised.

Smith R A

Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, vol.26, no.10. Oct.2003. pp.901-907. 5 fig., 10 ref.

The current status of theory and practice on rail integrity in Japanese railways - rolling contact fatigue and corrugations

Japanese understanding and practice of the wheel/rail interface problems and their management is presented. Rolling contact fatigue (particularly squat defects), grinding, corrugations and lubrication are considered.A combination of theoretical modelling, laboratory experiments and field trials were used to understand the mechanisms involved. Measures introduced by Japanese railway companies to mitigate the effects of these problems are described.

Ishida M et al

Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structues, vol.26, no.10. Oct.2003. pp.909-919. 17 fig., 38 ref.

The blending of theory and practice in modern rail grinding

Practical models for rail grinding, produced from laboratory tests and from theoretical modelling, have been produced and are used to substantiate past practices and to develop improved predictive tools for rail fatigue and profile deterioration. Rail profile shapes developed from practical field experience; the modelling of rail profile shapes; rail grinding intervals and metal removal; rail surface finish and metallurgy are all discussed.

Magel E et al

Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, vol.26, no.10. Oct.2003. pp.921-929. 5 fig., 30 ref.

Rail integrity management by means of ultrasonic testing

Condition monitoring, using ultrasonic testing, of the OREX ore export railway lines (Sishen, Northern Cape to Saldanha Bay) in South Africa is described. The performance and history of the line in terms of rail defect levels and derailments due to rail failure (from rolling contact fatigue, tache ovale, horizontal head cracking, flash butt and thermit weld failure) is overviewed with reference to traffic volume. Inherent rail characteristics are discussed and their effects on defect development are considered. The knowledge enhancement of rail condition brought about by the introduction of ultrasonic testing, and how this led to condition improvement programmes, eliminating derailments from defects, is described.

Marais J J; Mistry K C

Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, vol.26, no.10. Oct.2003. pp.931-938. 13 fig., 2 tab., 5 ref.

Rolling contact in railways: modelling, simulation and damage prediction

The development of a quantitative model for the evaluation of the mechanical state (stress, plastic strain cycle and residual stress pattern) in the vicinity of the wheel/rail contact zone is reported. Rolling contact induced defects (kidney shaped cracking, shelling, squat and head checking) and residual stresses were modelled. The main results of the research, sponsored by SNCF, the French national rail company, are presented.

Dang Van K; Maitournam M H

Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, vol.26, no.10. Oct.2003. pp.939-948. 12 fig., 13 ref.

Ratcheting and fatigue-led wear in rail-wheel contact

A computer model, simulating the ratcheting wear of a ductile material subject to repeated loading, is presented and discussed in detail.

Franklin F J et al

Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, vol.26, no.10. Oct.2003. pp.949-955. 8 fig., 2 tab., 14 ref.

Image analysis to reveal crack development using a computer simulation of wear and rolling contact fatigue

Results from a ratcheting-based computer simulation, developed to allow the simultaneous investigation of the interaction of wear with crack initiation and early crack propagation, are presented. Image analysis was applied to the visual representation of the wearing surface generated by the model to identify repeatably small crack-like flaws. The representation shows marked similarity to micrographs from sections of worn surfaces

Fletcher D I et al

Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, vol.26, no.10. Oct.2003. pp.957-967. 9 fig., 1 tab., 22 ref.

On propagation of short rolling contact fatigue cracks

The numerical modelling and analysis of short crack behaviour in rails during rolling contact fatigue loading was investigated. Factors that influence the fatigue propagation of short surface-breaking cracks (head checks) in rails were assessed. A parameterised finite element (FE) model for the rolling-sliding contact of a cylinder on a semi-infinite half space, with a short surface breaking crack, is presented. It is used in linear-elastic and elastic-plastic FE calculations for short crack propagation, together with fracture mechanics theory. Crack length and orientation, crack face friction, and coefficient of surface friction near the contact load were varied. The FE model is verified using four examples from the literature.

Ringsberg J W; Bergkvist A

Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, vol.26, no.10. Oct.2003. pp.969-983. 15 fig., 1 tab., 40 ref.

Shakedown limit of rail surfaces including material hardening and thermal stresses

The problem of rolling contacts is studied using a two-dimensional model of an infinite cylinder subjected to normal and tangential loading (line contact). The calculation of shake-down maps for wheel-rail contact is presented, taking into account cyclic hardening and thermal stresses. The significant influence of thermal stresses on elastic and shakedown limits is shown.

Bohmer A et al

Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, vol.26, no.10. Oct.2003. pp.985-998. 21 fig., 1 tab., 30 ref.

Prevention of RCF [rolling contact fatigue] damage in curved track through development of the INFRA-STAR two-material rail

Results from the European 5th frame research project 'INFRA-STAR', aimed at preventing RCF and reducing squeal noise in curves by the application of a surface layer material to the rail head, is presented. Two application technologies for producing the two layer rail - rolling technology (Corus) and laser cladding (Duroc) - are are being studied. Finite element calculations and shakedown theory have been undertaken, using contact pressure, friction coefficient, coating thickness, material properties of the coating and rail material, to calculate shakedown limits; these are used to predict the RCF performance of the system. The theoretical modelling, twin disc testing, metallurgical research and field testing carried out to date (August 2002; midway through the project) are detailed. The development of the surfacing systems used are discussed.

Hiensch E J M et al

Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, vol.26, no.10. Oct.2003. pp.1007-1017. 13 fig., 1 tab., 14 ref.

Development of bainitic rail steels with potential resistance to rolling contact fatigue

The development of a bainitic rail steel, with potential additional resistance to rolling contact fatigue (RCF) damage, is presented. The rails can be produced without requiring complex heat treatments after rolling, and have higher hardness and fracture toughess levels than pearlitic rails. Small- scale and full-scale tests, indicating that bainitic rails have a significantly better RCF performance, are reported. Further research is required to understand the reasons for this.

Sawley K; Kristan J

Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, vol.26, no.10. Oct.2003. pp.1019-1029. 8 fig., 9 tab., 18 ref.

Network Rail cuts upkeep contracts

The biggest change in the rail industry since privatisation has been announced by Network Rail. The company is to take rail maintenance for the whole network in-house. Rail renewal work will remain with private contractors. The main driver for this decision is the need to cut costs.

Financial Times. 24 Oct.2003. p.1.

Ambitious goal for Europe's railways

A plan to open Europe's railways to full competition, rail freight by 2006 and passenger transport by 2008, has been voted through by the European assembly. Whether this will be backed by member states remains to be seen

Financial Times. 24 Oct.2003. p.12.

Rail groups set to cut high-speed trains' cost

Deutsche Bahn (Germany), SNCF (France) and Ferrovie dello Stato (Italy) are discussing the commissioning of a pan-European high speed train. The aim is to reduce the costs of introducing new trains by 20% by having a joint specification. From 2010 the new train would replace the French TGVs, the German ICEs and the Italian ETR 500s, but trains for specific countries would have features to match their electricification, signalling and passenger requirements. Common components would ease the travel of trains through different rail networks as well as reduce costs. The European Commisssion has been approached to waive competition rules to allow the project, similar to Airbus and the Eurofighter, to go ahead.

Financial Times. 17 Oct.2003. p.8.

Quality assurance in the welding of rails in Germany

Following an overview of current rail materials, rail shape, welding methods, and of the different rail operators in Germany, the training of technical personnel for rail welding is described.

Kostermann H; Hug H; Meissner K

Welding in the World, vol.47. Special issue - 2003 international conference on welded construction for urban infrastructure, Bucharest, Romania. 10 July 2003. pp.113-122. 3 fig.,6 tab.

Experience in maintaining railtrack in Japan

The state of the art concerning welding processes for continuous welded rail (CWR) as used for rail track maintenance in Japan is described. The welding of head hardened rail (grades HH340 and 370), and gas pressure and enclosed arc welding are discussed. The reliability of rail welds in Japan considers features of weld failures, the development of ultrasonic rail inspection (including the relationship between ultrasonic inspection results and mechanical properties of welds), and the influence of welded joints on rail service life.

Fukada Y; Yamamoto R I; Harasawa H; Nakanowatari H

Welding in the World, vol.47. Special issue - 2003 international conference on welded construction for urban infrastructure, Bucharest, Romania. 10 July 2003. pp.123-137. 26 fig.,3 tab., 22 ref.

The complex analysis of the flaw detection information on railway rail NDT

A centralised system of data accumulation, decoding and weld analysis is presented for use in continuous rail inspection. (In Russian.)

Markov AA et al

NDT World - Russian Quarterly Review, vol.20, no.2. June 2003. pp.67-70.

Estimation of working regulations of fatal cropped rails replacement

Calculation of the replacement time for rails with transverse fatigue cracking in the rail head is presented. Calculations are based on the crack size and rail section working capacity. (In Russian.)

Kamensky V B

NDT World - Russian Quarterly Review, vol.20, no.2. June 2003. pp.64-66.

Improvement in reliability of inspection technique for rail welds

A Japanese railway company inspects its rails, welded using the flash and gas pressure techniques, with magnetic particle testing (MPT), and those welded by the thermit and enclosed arc techniques by ultrasonic inspection. Improvements to the two testing methods are described; a new probe developed specifically for testing rail welds, containing optimised crystal and wedge materials and nonfluorescent magnetic particles, has been developed to improve the daytime workability of MPT. (In Japanese.)

Fukada Y et al

Journal of the Japanese Society for Non-Destructive Inspection, vol.52, no.4. Apr.2003. pp.194-200.

Hatfield crash trial 'may begin in 2005'

A preliminary hearing at Luton Crown Court has heard that lack of a suitable trial judge will delay the trial of Balfour Beatty and Railtrack managers and executives for corporate manslaughter, unlawful killing and safety breaches until January 2005.

Financial Times. 1 Oct.2003. p.6.

Network Rail to save £5bn by curb on maintenance

Spending on rail maintenance is to be moved from quiet rural and freight-only lines to busy lines. Along with delays in other work, savings of £5bn over 5 years could be achieved. Network Rail has warned against cut backs in mainentance for more than two years as this would result in under 90% of trains arriving on time until 2012-13. More details on Network Rail costings are given.

Financial Times. 24 Sept.2003. p.5.

London rail chief in plea for action

Peter Field, rail development director of London Rail, has asked for priority to be given to the improvement of rail facilities in the capital. By 2011 he forecasts that overcrowding will have reached 'third world' levels; demand is expected to increase 25% by 2016 from today's figures. Faster progress is being sought on three key projects to reduce crowding - the Crossrail (east/west), Thameslink 2000 (north/south) and the western extension of the underground to Clapham Junction.

Financial Times. 25 Sept.2003. p.3.

Magnetic detection of discontinuities in railway rails using Hall effect sensors

An abstract of US patent no. 6549005 describes a method and apparatus for the high speed detection of surface cracks in railway rails.

Materials Evaluation, vol.61, no.9. Sept.2003. p.1033.

[British standard information]

BS EN 00256WG34
Qualification of railway trackworks contractors. (New work started.)

[BSI] Update Standards. Sept.2003. p.32.

West coast route modernisation still faces tough choices

The efforts taken since the beginning of 2002 to rescue critical elements of the West Coast mainline project are discussed. How the project sits at present, speeds that will be possible on different parts of the line, new electrification and layout alterations are considered.

Railway Gazette International, vol.159, no.9. Sept.2003. p.561-563.

Softly, softly under the city

Track for the sub-London approach tunnels on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) is being specially designed to minimise the noise and vibration from high speed trains. A theoretical design tool has been used by Rail Link Engineering and Union Railways to assess and predict the vibro-acoustic perfomance of the train-track system proposed. The ballasted and slab track systems evaluated are illustrated and trackforms selected are discussed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.159, no.9. Sept.2003. p.575-578.

Two-material rail combats rolling contact fatigue

The InfraStar project, to develop high performance alloys for use at the critical gauge corner of the wheel-rail interface, is studying two application technologies for making bi-material rail. Corus is developing an in-rolling technique for application to new rail during production, and Duroc is developing a laser cladding technology for use on existing rails and for the production of new rail. The latter is discussed here. Laboratory tests were carried out on Duroc 222 and Duroc 508 and these are briefly described. Field trials are being carried out at the Malmbanan iron ore line in Sweden. An overview of the goals, approach, results and further objectives of the InfraStar project is presented.

Railway Gazette International, vol.159, no.9. Sept.2003. p.587,589-590. 5 fig., 8 ref.

Mannheim test grooved rails with elastic bearings

Getzner Werkstoffe has developed an elastic support structure for grooved rails to give a smoother ride on tram and light rail lines. The system uses external and inner multi-layer hard foam cavity elements and an elastic rail base bearing. The laying of field test track is described.

Railway Gazette International, vol.159, no.9. Sept.2003. p.592.

Tube transfers to TfL

On 15 July, Transport for London took over responsibility for London Underground from the UK Secretary of State for Transport. 30 year concessions, under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) plan, have been assigned to Tube Lines and Metronet following the winding up of London Regional Transport. Bob Kiley as TfL Commissioner is managing the PPP contracts.

Railway Gazette International, vol.159, no.8. Aug.2003. p.478.

West coast line delay call angers rail groups

The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) and train operators have hit back at a suggestion from the rail regulator, Tom Winsor, that improvements to the London-Glasgow route could be delayed for a year. The SRA says it intends to go ahead with the project using the timetable outlined in a strategy document that targets having 125 mph trains operating on the route by the end of 2005.

Financial Times. 25 July 2003. p.5.

East London rail link to unlock potential growth

The extension to the East London Line has been given the go-ahead by the transport secretary as part of the Crossrail link. The project will be the second largest rail engineering project in the country, after the West Coast main line. The line will use part of the Tube network, plus having new and relaid overground track, linking Islington to east London, with branches to Croydon and Clapham Junction. Many new developments and regeneration are expected to spin off from the scheme.

Financial Times. 18 July 2003. p.5.

New Rail Safety Assessor qualification launched

The rail industry's first nationally recognised BTEC award has been launched by Rail Professional Development (Wickford, Essex). The Rail Safety Assessor Award, aimed at personnel undertaking safety critical or safety related activities in the rail industry, is approved by Edexcel and harmonises with Network Rail's Sentinel project.

Modern Railways, vol.60, no.659. Aug.2003. p.6.

TfL says act now to save London freight

A report by London Rail (Transport for London), the 'London Rail Freight Study', considered opportunities in the region for increasing the transfer of freight from road to rail. Growth areas identified were quarried aggregates, freight through wharves, cement and building materials, municipal waste and cross-channel consumer goods. The report calls for the safeguarding of rail freight terminals, increased access to the rail network and more funding to carry projects forward.

Modern Railways, vol.60, no.659. Aug.2003. p.11.

Preferred bidders named for track renewal contracts

The preferred bidders for plain line track renewals contracts for seven Network Rail regions have been announced; First Engineering - Scotland and North West; Jarvis - London North Eastern; Grant Rail and Carillion - Midlands and Southern; AmeySECO - Great Western; Balfour Beatty - Anglia.

Modern Railways, vol.60, no.659. Aug.2003. p.12.

More high-speed lines

Another section of the Erfurt-Leipzig/Halle line has been put out to tender; the 23 km section between Groebers and Leipzig was opened for use at the end of June.

Modern Railways, vol.60, no.659. Aug.2003. p.63.

Steep learning curve

The programme of initiatives set in motion after the Hatfield derailment, intended to learn more about the causes of rolling contact fatigue and to develop a response to it, is briefly described. A review of the efficiency of existing rail lubricants and of improvements to grease technology since these were chosen was undertaken as part of the programme. This trial is detailed and findings reported.

Rastall J

Railway Strategies, no.19. July -Aug.2003. pp.49,51.

Tube derailment was preventable

The final report by London Underground on the Chancery Lane Tube crash concludes that the cause was gearbox failure. The sequence of events following this failure resulted in the failure of the safety brackets, the detachment of a motor and derailment.

Financial Times. 12/13 July 2003. p.6.

Rail executives and engineers in court over Hatfield crash

The trial of twelve executives and engineers from the former Railtrack and Balfour Beatty is reported. Those charged for manslaughter and those summonsed under health and safety legislation are named. For further news see www.ft.com/transport.

Financial Times. 15 July 2003. p.5.

Management and research tackle rolling contact fatigue

As a result of information coming out of international research into rolling contact fatigue (RCF), ProRail (The Netherlands) is undertaking modification of rail composition and head profiles, and has adopted a regular grinding policy. Short and long term solutions to RCF taken in The Netherlands, Prorail's testing programme, RCF detection and prevention, grinding schedule and the cost of RCF are described and discussed.

Smulders J

Railway Gazette International, vol.158, no.7. July 2003. pp.433-436. 11 fig., 1 tab.

Intensive inspection at high speed

The 200 km/h infrastructure measuring train designed to record the condition of the UK's most heavily used main lines every fortnight is described. It is hoped that the system will provide track engineers with data that is never more than 48 hours old.

Railway Gazette International, vol.158, no.7. July 2003. pp.441-442.

Rail outlook offers little comfort to passengers

The Network Rail business plan unveiled yesterday states the aims of having 90% of trains running on time by 2009 - the present figure is under 80%. Also announced was a 2,000 cut in jobs over three years, as the company seeks to cut costs.

Financial Times. 1 July 2003. p.2.

The inspection of thermite welds in railroad rail - a perennial problem

The problems associated with inspecting thermite rail welds are discussed and laboratory and field research work undertaken prior to the development of a preliminary testing procedure using AREMA (American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-way Association) guidelines are described. The results of tests using A-scans with contact search units and B-scans with roller search units is reported.

Clark R and Singh S

Insight, vol.45, no.6. June 2003. pp.387-393. 17 fig., 1 tab., 21 ref.

Guided wave testing of rail

The development of a guided wave inspection system for rail is described. Experimental and finite element results showing the interaction of various guided wave modes with a variety of defect geometries are presented. Results from laboratory tests and site trials demonstrating the ability of the system to detect a range of defects in free rail, aluminio-thermic welds and in rail at a level crossing are given.

Wilcox P et al

Insight, vol.45, no.6. June 2003. pp.413-10 fig., 8 ref.

Status and prospects of NDT [nondestructive testing] for rail quality at Kuznetsk Steel Works, Russia

The process and equipment for automatic non-contact inspection of rails in production is described. Testing is performed by the ultrasonic mirror-shadow technique with shear waves excited by electromagnetic acoustic transducers. The use of eddy current testing is considered for the detection of surface and below-surface defects.

Tchaban S V

Insight, vol.45, no.6. pp.421-423. 4 fig., 2 ref.

Rail crash blamed on poor maintenance

The third and final Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report on the Potters Bar crash (May 2002) states that the incident was caused by points failure. The points in question were 'in poor condition and had been poorly maintained'. The final report will be issued following a decision by the British Transport Police and the HSE on whether criminal charges are to be brought against Jarvis, the contractor responsible.

Financial Times. 30 May 2003. p.4.

Derailment report questions Tube safety

The report of the investigation by the London Assembly into the Chancery Lane derailment on the Central Line is expected to say that the incident was 'an accident waiting to happen'. London Underground is being blamed for taking short-term measures as a means of keeping trains running, rather than undertaking proper long-term work that would ensure the safety of the underground. The poor relationship between London Underground management and the rail unions is also discussed in the report.

Financial Times. 2 June 2003. p.1.

Rail Safety and Standards Board is launched

As a result of a recommendation by the public enquiry into the Ladbroke Grove disaster, the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) was established on the 1 April 2003. RSSB is a limited company, owned by the railway industry, and its board consists of an independent non-executive chairman, 3 executive directors, 6 non-executive directors nominated by the industry, 4 independent non-executive directors and 1 non-executive director nominated by the Strategic Rail Authority. The roles of the company are listed in the article, and all directors are named.

Rail Safety and Standards Board Information Bulletin, no.55. April 2003. p.1.

EN 13674

Railway applications. Track. Rail.
Part 2: Switch and crossing rails used in conjunction with Vignole railway rails 46 kg/m and above. (British draft standard 03/306635 DC)
Part 3: Check rails. (British draft standard 03/306636 DC.)
Part 4: Flat bottomed symmetrical railway rails from 27 kg/m to 46 kg/m. (British draft standard 03/306637 DC.)

Update Standards. June 2003. p.33.

Deutsche Bahn skidding off the rails

A recent survey has revealed that the state-owned rail company is the German nation's most unpopular company. Deutsche Bahn passenger numbers have fallen 10% during the first quarter of 2003, with income from longer journeys down 14%. The change in attitude comes as a result of the introduction in 2002 of an unpopular pricing structure and technical hitches on the Frankfurt-Cologne high speed link which have led to increasing nationwide delays. Former passengers are using their cars or are taking advantage of cheap air fares.

Financial Times. 21 May 2003. p.330.

Mail railway system up for sale

The Royal Mail is to sell its miniature underground postal railway system that carries post around the capital. It is hoped that the 75 year old Mail Rail will be sold as a going concern; it runs for 23 miles between Whitechapel and Paddington. Losses of £600M in 2002-2003 have been reported and the business has an enormous pensions black hole.

Financial Times. 24/25 May 2003. p.5.

Engine sales up at MTU

A growth of 16% in diesel engine sales to the rail sector has been reported by MTU (Germany). The greatest increase was seen in under floor drive units for diesel multiple-units. Alstom, Bombardier and Siemens placed orders for nearly 400 PowerPack units.

Railway Gazette International, vol.159, no.6. June 2003. p.402.

Singapore adopts resilient rail fixing

The Pandrol Double Fastclip rail fastening has been installed on the Singapore North East Line, a new line due to open in June 2003. The operation of the Pandrol device is explained and its advantages described.

Railway Gazette International, vol.159, no.6. June 2003. p.403.

BS EN 14033-3

Railway applications. Track technical requirements for railbound construction and maintenance machines. Part 3: Requirements for the working of railbound machines in relation to the Machinery Directive 98/37/EC. (Work started to draw up standard.)

Update Standards. May 2003. p.29.

EN 13481-8

Railway applications. Track. Performance requirements for fastening systems. Part 8: Fastening systems for track with heavy axle loads. (Draft British Standard 03/305679 DC.)

Update Standards. May 2003. p.40.

Virgin's tilting train hits another red light

It has has been found that electromagnetic interference from controls driving the tilting train motors changes track signal lights. It is thought that Alstom was provided with the wrong specifications by Railtrack. Virgin and Alstom are likely to have to redesign the engines.

Financial Times. 2 May 2003. p.3.

Watch out for bad vibes

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a technique for measuring rail stress by forcing it to vibrate and measuring the size of the vibrations. The frequency of the induced vibrations is related to the stress in the rail. Rail is laid so that it is slightly compressed when cold. During hot weather this stress rises as the rail expands. Over a critical level the rail buckles as the train travels over it. At sites of large daily temperature fluctuations, rail can become sensitised which results in overstressing at lower temperatures. The test equipment has an electromagnetic shaker operating at 200 hertz which is attached to a short section of free rail (by removing two clips). A laser detector measures the vibrations at 10 cm intervals along the unclipped section of rail, to calculate the stress in the rail. Variables, such as sleeper type, do not affect the wavelength.

New Scientist. vol.178, no.2393. 3 May 2003. pp.20-21.

Rival Crossrail bid would cost £3.3bn, says consortium

The Cross London Rail Links (CLRL), supported by the Strategic Rail Authority and Transport for London, from Heathrow to Canary Wharf is projected to cost £15bn. The rival Crossrail plan, London Regional Metro (LRM), is funded by the private sector, and covers the route from Heathrow to Stratford only. LRM is proposing that the service is run by Network Rail and the Strategic Rail Authority, with costs being recovered over a concession period by an availability charge.

Financial Times. 7 May 2003. p.4.

Corus Rail wins award for new platform

The Rail Engineering Excellence award has been given to Corus Rail for its design of a self-contained steel framed platform. The modular design allowed a 60 m extension to be installed at St.Pancras, for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, in under 2 days. An 80 m platform using the system has also been installed at Barry (South Wales).

New Steel Construction, vol.11, no.3. May/June 2003. p.43.

Train derailment at Potters Bar 10 May 2002: A progress report by the HSE Investigation Board.

This third public report on the HSE's investigation into the Potters Bar derailment is the last before the final report to the Health and Safety Commission. Key conclusions from the technical invesitgation of the points that failed and other sets of points in the Potters Bar area, and the study of the coaches if the train involved are presented.The Investigation Board's recommendations on the rail industry's safety culture; management systems for safety; general design and engineering aspects; points of the 2182A design; selection and control of contractors; investigation arrangements; regulation of railwya health and safety and general recommendations are given.

Health and Safety Executive, HSE Potters Bar Investigation Board. May 2003. 87pp. 15 figs. http://www.hse.gov.uk/railways/pottersbar/may03progrep.pdf

Airports operator warns on expansion plans

The lack of investment in rail links has led British Airports Authority (BAA) to warn the government that its airport expansion plans will fail unless they are backed by more and better rail services. BAA is considering a congestion charge for vehicles using Heathrow Airport as a means of raising funds for public transport links. Discussions are underway between BAA and the Strategic Rail Authority to draw up an agreement on rail improvements as part of airport expansion plans.

Financial Times. 22 April 2003. p.2.

Merseyside plans a rail renaissance

The objective of Merseytravel is to provide a single integrated public transport network around Merseyside that is accessible to all. Plans to achieve this, with the introduction and expansion of the rail and tram network, are detailed.

Railway Gazette International; Metro Report. Supplement to vol.159. 2003. pp.40-41.

£27bn to put right our 'fragile' railway

The three year spending plan of Network Rail is discussed with figures for operating, maintenance, West Coast renewals, and all other renewals given for the periods 2002-3, 2003-4, 2004-5 and 2005-6. Key objectives are considered.

Railnews, no.75. May 2003. p.16.

Lasers to light way forward

Two track surveying machines built by Plasser and Theurer (Austria) will be assisting UK track maintenance by Spring 2004. Each survey vehicle contains a laser which can link data from the track surveying equipment with datum plates mounted on gantries along the network to pin-point track position. The equipment will be used on the West Coast route.

Railnews, no.75. May 2003. p.19.

Slinger speeds relaying on double track

The Jarvis Slinger TRT, a cheaper version of the Track Renewal Train (Harsco Track Technologies, USA) is described. Its operation, where whole track sections can be lifted off the ballast for trackbed renovation (by the Jarvis Mole), is detailed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.159, no.5. May 2003. p.295.

[Rail welding papers]

A session on 'NDE (nondestructive evaluation) applications in the railroad industry' at the ASNT (American Society for Nondestructive Testing) 12th Annual Research Symposium, Orlando, Florida, USA on Wednesday, 12 March 2003 presented the following papers; 'Ultrasonic characterisation of thermite welds in rails'(Singh and Clark); 'Comparative study between laser-air hybrid and conventional ultrasonic techniques in detecting vertical defects in rails' (Kenderian et al); 'Ultrasonic inspection of railroad wheels using phased array technology' (Hackengerger and Rager); 'Nondestructive testing of railroad components (Garcia et al); 'Field test using laser-air hybrid ultrasonic technique for the inspection of vertical split head and base cracks in rail tracks' (Djordjevic et al); 'Laser-air hybrid ultrasonic technique for the remote inspection of moving rail wheels' (Kenderian et al); and 'Signal processing for in-service real time ultrasonic rail inspection' (Cerniglia et al).

Materials Evaluation, vol.61, no.1. Jan.2003. p.46.

Practical long range guided wave testing: Applications to pipes and rail

The long range testing of pipes and rails using ultrasonic guided waves with frequencies below 100 kHz is presented. Development of a commercial system is described from its beginnings in the laboratory. Recent developments of a guided wave test for rail are detailed.

Cawley P; Lowe M J S; Alleyne D N; Pavlakovic B; Wilcox P

Materials Evaluation, vol.61, no.1. Jan.2003. pp.66-74. 10 fig.,44 ref.

Collaboration pays off for rail group

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and 6 other Japanese companies in partnership have won the contract to build a bullet (shinkansen) train system for Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp.

Nikkei Weekly. 3 Feb.12003. p.18.

£37M plan to restore eastern link

A plan to reinstate 7 miles of track between Alloa and Kincardine, and to take 6 miles of track between Stirling and Alloa out of mothballs, to complete a Stirling-Dunfermline link, is under consideration by the Scottish Parliament. The railway would then be able to supply the Longannet power station with coal by rail, and passenger trains would operate on the Stirling-Alloa stretch. Given the go-ahead, it is hoped that trains may be running by 2006.

Railnews, no.74. April 2003. p.3.

Highspeed Train Europe [HTE] takes shape

A report from February's train technology seminar(Berlin)is presented. The national railways of Germany, France and Italy are working as project leaders for a pan-European project on developing a common design for a high speed train. The three bodies, together with Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and Spain, plan to amalgamate contracts and development work to exploit economies of scale. Fundamental design decisions have yet to be made, e.g. to use distributed power or separate power cars; articulation or separate coaches; maximum speed. It is hoped that the specification will be finalised by autumn to allow tendering for the HTE fleet to start.

Railway Gazette International. April 2003. p.204.

Network Rail set to reveal £6bn a year costs

Figures to be published next week are expected to show that the cost of running the UK's rail network is double that set by the Strategic Rail Authority. The sum of £6bn per annum is needed for the next three years to carry out essential work. The UK's 'ageing and fragmented' network will require many years to bring it up to a good standard.

Financial Times. 29/30 March 2003. p.8.

One fifth of rail network overdue for replacement/Plea for patience as company sees little light at the end of tunnel

Two articles discuss the amount of outstanding work that needs to be carried out on the UK's seriously neglected railway network. Various estimates of the financial input required are given.

Financial Times. 1 April 2003. p.9.

GNER's go-ahead to claim £100M could strain the transport budget

The Office of the Rail Regulator has upheld GNER's claim for compensation for disruption to its services following the Hatfield accident.

Financial Times. 1 April 2003. p.9.

Delay to European railways legislation

As a result of the large number of proposed amendments to the EU High Speed and Conventional Interoperability Directives, this legislation was not adopted at the end of 2002 as originally planned. Revised legislation is to be presented to Council in March with final text agreed by mid-2003 and full adoption by the end of 2003. The Directives cover five separate regulations. For further details see www.railwaysafety.org.

Railway Safety Information Bulletin, no.53. Jan./Feb.2003. p.1.

Research reports produced

Two reports have been published by Railway Safety. 'Independent review of Laserthor' is a progress report by Interfleet Technology on the work of the Laserthor system. Laserthor, invented and developed by a company of the same name, uses a laser beam to clean rail track to improve adhesion. 'Rolling contact fatigue' is a summary and review report on the topic written by Professor Rod Smith. The wheel/rail interface and its role in the structural failure of rails are detailed. Areas for future research are suggested. Electronic copies of the reports are available by contacting See Ying Yip at Railway Safety, tel: 020 7904 7537.

Railway Safety Information Bulletin, no.53. Jan./Feb.2003. p.2.

System upgrade to improve rail safety

Network Rail will spend £88.5M to update communications systems, providing a national digital system for secure communication between drivers and signal staff. The new system will be faster and unaffected by tunnels or deep cuttings, resulting in improved safety and reduced track delays. It is hoped that the system will be fully operational by December 2006.

Computing. 20 March 2003. p.21

Residual stress measurement

Two new Measurement Notes are available free from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) Materials Enquiry Point. One details how through-thickness stress profiles can be obtained by X-ray diffraction techniques, using electropolishing to produce repeatable measurements at each incremental step (similar to hole drilling). The second Measurement Note concerns hole drilling. Four strain analysis techniques are compared. The integral method is shown to be the best for non-uniform stress fields, particularly where stress varies rapidly with depth. Details of NPL research on the non-contact measurement of residual stress and of the DTI project 'Advanced Residual Stress Measurement are available on www.npl.co.uk/materials/residualstress.

Materials Measurement, no.22. Spring 2003. p.1.c

Seattle light rail project clears funding hurdle

The Central Link light rail project, totalling 14 miles from central Seattle to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, has been given the go-ahead by the US Department of Transportation. The project is to be undertaken by Sound Transit, with the main line completed by 2009 and the airport station and extension by 2011.

ENR - Engineering News Record, vol.250, no.5. 10 Feb.2003. p.7.

Monorail project looks for design-build team

A draft request for companies to design and build a 14 mile monorail system in Seattle has been issued. The first phase of the Seattle Monorail Project, known as the Green Line, will run from Ballard (Washington state) through the city centre to West Seattle. Funding for the project is being met by a car excise tax on Seattle residents.

ENR - Engineering News Record, vol.250, no.5. 10 Feb.2003. p.7.

New Chicago rail plan offered

The plans from Metra, one of Chicago's three largest transport companies, for a rapid-transit service for the city's western and northwestern suburbs, have been submitted to the Regional Transportation Authority. Some details of the route (55 miles of track connecting 100 communities) are given.

ENR - Engineering News Record, vol.250, no.5. 10 Feb.2003. p.15.

Thermal best

Aperio (Cambridge, UK) has recently used its thermal imaging technology to check repairs to a subway in Great Missenden, Bucks. undertaken by contractor Balvac. Strengthening had been carried out by the composite plate bonding method in which carbon fibre reinforced polymer is bonded to concrete. The thermal imaging system was used to check for delamination between the materials caused by differences in cooling rates.

Railway Strategies, no.17. March-April 2003. p.4.

Welding relationships in the rail industry

A profile of the specialist track maintenance and renewal company, Millennium Rail Ltd. (Rainham, Essex), is presented. The company specialises in Thermit welding, 'French' welding of railway tracks, plus maintenance, renewal and distressing welding.

Railway Strategies, no.17. March-April 2003. p.41.

A flexible approach to rail fastenings on non-ballasted track

The use of slab track to replace the ballast layer in order to provide a lower rail head is being investigated by Network Rail. Problems, such as vibration, noise and increased rail stresses, are being faced. Three baseplated rail fastening systems offering a range of track stiffness developed by Pandrol are described. The Pandrol VIPA SP baseplate system is undergoing tests for compliance with the Infrastructure TSI (Technical Specifications for Interoperability of High Speed Railways) and with the 30 tonne axle load requirement.

Porrill J

Railway Strategies, no.17. March-April 2003. p.48. 3 fig.

The research connection

A profile of Keith Madelin, head of Rail Research UK, is presented. His belief that academic research into new technologies and systems will bring many benefits to the railway industry, and will help solve some of its problems, is discussed.

The Engineer. 7-20 March 2003. pp.30-33.

Audit concession fails to lift rail safety fears

The new audit system for rail safety systems being introduced by the Railway Safety and Standards Body (RSSB) has been labelled as fragmented and bureaucratic. RSSB is to accredit companies doing safety audits, and train operating companies have a year to transfer to the new system. The present standards and audit body, Railway Safety, has advised the Health and Safety Executive that the proposals could lead to audit companies not giving 'bad news' in case they lose business, and they consider that the safety of the rail network should be treated as a whole, not blocks, to ensure firstly, that no black holes exist at operator interfaces and secondly, that best practice can be shared.

Financial Times. 26 Feb.2003. p.2.

UK research group founded

Rail Research UK (RRUK), a new centre for railway research backed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, was launched on 25 February. RRUK will start operations in April 2003 and is to provide a 'one-stop shop' for the supply of railway information. 12 research groups from 7 universities are involved, with Southampton and Birmingham Universities jointly running RRUK. The centre's mandate is to provide a strong engineering base for railway systems research; the defining and prioritising of that research; improving rail network safety, reliability and capacity; reducing environmental impact; making rail travel more attractive; improving rail industry practice and informing policy development. The first director of RRUK is Prof. Keith Madelin from the School of Engineering, University of Birmingham.

Railway Gazette, vol.159, no.3. March 2003. p.119.

Intelligence: United Kingdom

Up to 400 new container wagons are being ordered by Freightliner from Sept.2002, an investment of £17M. The wagons are to be leased from HSBC Rail and manufactured by Wagony Swidnica (Greenbrier).
A five year maintenance contract has been signed between HSBC Rail and Bombardier for care of 31 Class 91 electric locomotives at Doncaster. The contract is valued at £13.1M; there are options for renewal for up to 18 years.

Railway Gazette, vol.159, no.3. March 2003. p.124.

AMEC votes to buy Spie

The remaining 54% of shares in Spie are to be purchased by AMEC, with the transaction being completed on 5 March. Spie's involvement with AMEC Rail, the AMEC Spie Rail joint venture and the Spie European rail business will continue unchanged.

Railway Gazette, vol.159, no.3. March 2003. p.167.

Climate shift could harm rail safety and performance

A report, published by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP), highlights problems that will be faced by the rail infrastructure as a result of global warming (a 1-3°C increase by 2050), drier summers, wetter winters and higher sea levels. A research programme has been launched by EPSRC and UKCIP in cooperation with Network Rail, Scottish Water, the National Grid, the Association of British Insurers, English Heritage and others to study the effect of climate extremes on infrastructure and buildings.

Financial Times. 3 March 2003. p.2.

Tube fault recurs on reopened City Line

London Underground has confirmed that loose bolts on brackets holding the motors were found on three Waterloo and City Line trains less than 12 hours after being put back into service following checks. The trains are identical to that which derailed at Chancery Lane. The Central Line is still closed whilst an investigation is carried out into the January accident.

Financial Times. 20 Feb.2003. p.1.

Tube hires aircraft engineers to check trains

Nine independent checkers have been brought in from the aircraft industry by London Underground to double-check work carried out on train motor bolts. An investigation is also underway on a recurrent problem with broken gearboxes.

Financial Times. 21 Feb.2003. p.1.

Questions will remain after LU's report on Tube crash

The London Underground report on the Chancery Lane derailment is published today. The article discusses the long-standing problems with the Central Line trains from their pre-service testing. The full Health and Safety Executive report on the accident is not expected for another month.

Financial Times. 21 Feb.2003. p.4.

Ministers given deadline on rail spending

The rail regulator, Tom Winsor, has started the final consultation on how much to pay Network Rail to run the rail network. The decision will determine whether the rail network is reduced or whether the status quo is maintained with larger subsidies.

Financial Times. 14 Feb.2003. p.2.

Darling accepts rail safety advice

The European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) is to be implemented on the UK's railway system, following acceptance of the Health and Safety Executive recommendations by Alistair Darling. The ERTMS has not yet been fully developed. A simpler system will be used until the system becomes available.

Financial Times. 6 Feb.2003. p.2.

Intelligence [United Kingdom]

The British Rail built HST sets on the Great Western line are to be replaced with a diesel high speed train to be developed jointly by First Group and Siemens. Based on the Venturio, the power units will also be able to use overhead electrification. The new trains are expected to be in service within 5 years.

Railway Gazette International, vol.159, no.2. Feb.2003. p.68.

Cracking up - environmentally assisted cracking of railway rails

An investigation by CAPCIS into the failure of a rail section as a result of environmentally assisted cracking is described. Metallographic examination of the fracture region revealed 'classic' step-wise hydrogen cracks in the web and foot of the rail. The source of the hydrogen in the rail was traced to the production of hydrogen sulphide gas by sulphate reducing bacteria in stagnant water pools beside and beneath the rails.

Materials World, vol.11, no.2. Feb.2003. pp.25-26.

City group plans Crossrail rival

London Regional Metro (LRM) has put forward a proposal to construct a railway line between Paddington and Liverpool Street at a cost significantly lower than the £10bn estimate of the Crossrail project. LRM claim the line could be open by 2011-2013. Involved in the proposal are AECOM (USA), Arup, Bank of Scotland, Berwin Leighton Paisner and Jones Lang LaSalle.

Financial Times. 20 Jan.2003. p.2.

Rail network operator '£12bn short'

Estimates from Network Rail of how much it is going to cost to repair and maintain the UK rail network has worked out at £30bn - 66% more than its budget. The Strategic Rail Authority is warning of the need to drop major projects from its revised stategic plan. The backlog of repairs facing Network Rail will take over 10 years to complete.

Financial Times. 23 Jan.2003. p.1.

Railways abandon £10bn plans for improved services

The 13 cancelled or postponed projects as proposed by the Strategic Rail Authority to reduce costs are listed.

The Times. 31 Jan.2003. p.10.

Railway authority buys up more recycled railroad ties

The Chicago Transit Authority is to purchase another 10,000 DuraTie recycled composite railway sleepers from US Plastic Lumber Corp. The sleepers are made of glass fibre-reinforced recycled plastic (mostly HDPE), and offer a longer life than wooden sleepers, as well as not requiring poisonous treatments against rot and insects. They are also non-conductive and non-absorbent. The USA uses 10 - 15 million sleepers a year in its replacement programme.

Advanced Composites Bulletin. Jan.2003. pp.3-4.

Ministers abandon 50% rail growth target

Soaring costs and rising delays has led the Strategic Rail Authority to withdraw its promise to increase rail passenger numbers by 50% this decade.

Financial Times. 16 Jan.2003. p.1.

Amec shares rise on £200M rail contract

A seven year contract covering the renewal of the line from Paddington to Penzance and west Wales, plus the east coast line from London to the Scottish borders, has been awarded to Amec by Network Rail. Amec will be working in a joint venture with Cogifer (France), and is in the final stages of incorporating its French subsidiary, Spie. Spie was involved in track renewal on the Paris underground, and on the TGV high speed lines. Work will be carried out by a special track renewal machine capable of laying 350 m in an hour.

Financial Times. 18/19 Jan.2003. p.16.

Standards news

BS EN 13146-7:2002 Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 7: Determination of clamping force
Update Standards. Jan.2003. p.10
BS EN 00256131 Railway applications. Track. Special purpose rail. Part 1: Grooved and associated construction. (New work started)
Update Standards. Jan.2003. p.26
EN 13146-1:2002 Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 1: Determination of longitudinal rail restraint
Update Standards. Jan.2003. p.44
EN 13146-2:2002 Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 2: Determination of torsional resistance
Update Standards. Jan.2003. p.44
EN 13146-3:2002 Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 3: Determination of attenuation of impact loads
Update Standards. Jan.2003. p.44
EN 13146-4:2002 Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 4: Effect of repeated loading
Update Standards. Jan.2003. p.44
EN 13146-5:2002 Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 5: Determination of electrical resistance
Update Standards. Jan.2003. p.44
ENV 13803-1:2002 Railway applications. Track alignment design parameters. Track gauges 1435 mm and wider. Part 1: Plain line
Update Standards. Jan.2003. p.46

New setback for promised rail safety plan

The implementation European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), which helps prevent collisions and improves rail network performance, has again been put on hold by the Strategic Rail Authority due to lack of funds.

Financial Times. 4/5 Jan.2003. p.1.

Driverless freight train

The CargoMover, developed by Siemens, uses a combination of radar, lasers and GSM mobile data systems to direct itself automatically through a route using gaps between scheduled passenger and freight trains. CargoMover offers flexibility that can cope with small consignments at short notice, offering a real alternative to road transport. The system is under test at the Siemens test track in Wildenrath, Germany. Further details are given.

The Engineer. 10-23 Jan.2003. p.8.

Network Rail puts pressure on contractors

Network Rail is taking back the maintenance contract for line from west of London Paddington Station through to Reading. The section covers all types of services and is a bottleneck. The maintenance carried out by Network Rail will act as a sample to ensure that the other 19 maintenance contracts it awards are known to be value for money, and also to see how new regulations have a knock-on effect on costs and disruption.

Financial Times. 14 Jan.2003. p.2.

Eurostar train breaks British rail speed record

In a test run on a section of the Channel tunnel rail link, a Eurostar train achieved 208 mph (334.7 kph), breaking the UK rail speed record. The first section of the rail link is to be officially opened at the end of September. It is expected to reduce travelling time between London and Paris to just over two and half hours, and to Brussels to just over two and a quarter hours.

Financial Times. 31 July 2003. p.3.

[New American rail standard]

AWS D15.2:200X Recommended practices for the welding of rails and related rail components for use by rail vehicles (ANSI public review expires 26 Aug.2003).

Welding Journal, vol.82, no.8. Aug.2003. p.77.

[New draft British standards]

BS EN 13232-9: Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings. Part 9: Layouts. (Draft British standard 03/310084 DC.)
BS EN 14730-2 Railway applications. Track. Welding of rails. Part 2: Qualification of aluminothermic welders, approval of contractors and acceptance of welds. (Draft British standard 03/310083 DC.)

[BSI] Update Standards. Aug.2003. p.43.

Rail chief defends plan to scale back work on rural lines

The Strategic Rail Authority is not recommending the closure of lightly-used rural lines, but the scaling back of maintenance on them in order to liberate funds for mainline and main secondary routes, London and the south east. It was stressed that the proposals are open to discussion, but slightly slower services and more temporary speed restrictions on rural, freight and some secondary lines is not seen as a problem.

Financial Times. 1 Aug.2003. p.2.