[Skip to content]



Crossrail rival 'is needless distraction'

The Superlink project, a cross-London rail route from Reading/Basingstoke to Southend/Ipswich, proposed by a former senior manager at British Rail, John Prideaux, and a rail consultant, Michael Schabas, has been dismissed by government and railway groups. It is claimed that Superlink would carry four times as many passengers, take more pressure from the Tube and road network, generate more income and would be easier to fund. The project would include a link to Stansted airport.

Financial Times. 16 Dec.2004. p.6.

Tube contractors told to put profits into maintenance

Following the announcement of £93M in profits earned between the Tubelines and Metronet consortia over the first full year of public-private partnership, London Underground is insisting that the contractors plough the majority of profits into improved underground system maintenance. London Underground and Transport for London consider the underground maintenance poor enough to look beyond the consortia in awarding new contracts.

Financial Times. 8 Dec.2004. p.2.

A Boussinesq wedge analysis of the tensile stress region in a rail head beneath compressive and traction point loads

The circumstances under which a region of radial or longitudinal tensile stresses would exist on a rail head under a train in rectilinear motion is investigated in order to evaluate the potential frequency of fatigue crack growth. A simple Boussinesq wedge type analysis was used to show favourable mode I and mixed-mode fatigue crack propagation possibilities.

Kfouri A P

Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, vol.27, no.12. Dec.2004. pp.1119-1122. 2 fig., 9 ref.

France plans low-fare TGV attack on low-cost carriers

SNCF has introduced a 19 euro fare for the Paris-Marseille journey to take passengers back from the cheap seat airlines. New rolling stock is to be built, providing two decks offering different levels of customer service.

Flight International, vol.166, no.4962. 30 Nov.-6 Dec.2004. p.12.

FT Special Report: Business Travel

The special supplement includes the following: 'Renaissance as journey times fall' looks at how business executive are opting to travel by rail instead of air, as the high speed rail network expands. Recent reductions in journey times between London and major northern European cities are examined. 'A supersonic business future?' speculates on the prospect of a successor to Concorde emerging within 10 years.

Financial Times. 15 Nov.2004. Special Report: Business Travel. p.5.

Commuters to get the 140mph Hitachi bullet/Japanese bullet train promises Ashford to London in 34 minutes

A fleet of trains, based on the Shinkansen 400 'bullet' train, could be in service on the Channel Tunnel rail link high speed line by the end of this decade. Builders Hitachi have won preferred bidder status to supply 30 six car trains for the UK's railway. The line is due for completion by 2007.

Railnews, no.93. Nov.2004. pp.1,3.

Metro construction sets to boom

Plans being drawn up in China to construct 1,200 - 1,500 km of new urban railways over the next 10 years are discussed. The metro projects will take place in 43 cities with populations of over one million. A table gives an extract from the Railway Gazette metro and light rail projects database and shows some of the projects under construction (city, route, project status, length (km) and opening date).

Railway Gazette International, vol.160, no.11. Nov.2004. p.743.

EIM strives to foster Europe's rail market

The emerging influence of the European Railway Agency across the enlarged European Union is discussed by the EIM president, Jean-Marie Bertrand. The European Rail Infrastructure Managers' Association (EIM) was set up in 2002 to represent infrastructure businesses among European railways.

Railway Gazette International, vol.160, no.11. Nov.2004. p.775.

Ultrasonic defect detection comes to the Underground

Metronet Rail and Tube Lines have introduced the use of Sperry Rail's ultrasonic defect detection system to the open track sections of the London Underground, 50% of its total length. The system inspects, creates, displays and stores data from both rails simultaneously and is capable of detecting all types of rail defects, including wear and corrosion. Further details are given.

Modern Railways, vol.61, no.674. Nov.2004. p.10.

Rail freight boost for port as track opens to biggest containers

With the alteration of key parts of the rail routes to allow passage of the largest shipping containers, Freightliner, EWS and GB Railfreight all plan to increase substantially the number of containers moved by rail. An 18 month project has raised bridges and lowered rail track on the Felixstowe to London route, from where containers will go on to the London to Glasgow west coast main line. The work, which was completed under budget, was funded by the Strategic Rail Authority.

Financial Times. 15 Oct.2004. p.2.

West Midlands pledges £100M towards revamp of station designated country's worst bottleneck

The New Street station (Birmingham) up-grade is to be assisted by funding from Advantage West Midlands, the regional development agency. The sum pledged leaves £150M to be found from the private sector.

Financial Times. 15 Oct.2004. p.2.

BS EN 13481-4:2002

Railway applications. Track. Performance requirements for fastening systems. Part 4: Fastening systems for steel sleepers. Corrigendum 1 AMD 15317 has been issued for this standard.

[BSI] Update Standards. Oct.2004. p.22.

DR 04304

Railway track materials. Part 15: Welding of steel rail. (Draft Australian standard. Revision of AS 1085.15-1995.)

Australasian Welding Journal, vol.49, no.3. 2004. p.28.

News in brief

A rail products company has been set up in Scotland by AEA Technology (AEAT). The unit is based in Glengarock, near Glasgow. Some of the 40 staff has moved from AEAT's Derby headquarters, and consist of system engineers, logistic controllers and software analysts.

Railnews, no.90. Aug.2004. p.5.

FT Rail Industry

A special report focuses on how the sector is critical to an economy's efficiency. The following articles are presented: 'Acceleration from past to future' looks at the co-existence of traditional and modern technologies, but considers that huge changes are on the way, particularly in high-speed passenger travel; 'Engineers still get their kicks with the Class 66' looks at the purchase of North American diesels for UK freight motive power; 'Bumpy ride likely for manufacturers' describes the consolidation underway in the railway sector, with smaller companies being absorbed by larger companies, such as Bombardier Transportation, Alstom and Siemens; 'Steam builds behind moves toward change' shows how cross-border trains in Europe are moving into a new phase, drivers changing at the border, instead of locomotives; 'Leaning into the straight and narrow' looks at tilting trains and the history behind getting them running on the UK's rail network; 'Europe-wide management system gets a cautious green light' discusses the importance of a common set of rail standards across Europe. This is expected to take decades to achieve, but signalling based on the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) has already been in use in Switzerland for 2 years; 'The sad death of another boyhood dream' considers the conversion to computer-controlled systems, such as on the Docklands Light Railway; 'The race to be fastest on the track' looks at some manufacturers' visions of the future; and 'A streetcar-driven desire to engineer lower floors' discusses the balance between traditional design and the need for ease of use in tram and light rail systems'.

Financial Times. 21 Sept.2004. Special Report: Rail Industry. 4pp.

Accidents on railways hit record low levels

The Health and Safety Executive has reported that, despite two accidents during the past year, the passenger safety record on London Underground has continued to improve. Further details of the HSE's annual report on railway safety, published on 21 Sept.2004, are given.

Financial Times. 22 Sept.2004. p.6.

Combat fatigue

The incidence and causes of rolling contact fatigue (RCF) in rails are summarised. Costing the European railway industry around 300M euros per annum for the removal and replacement of rail plus associated costs, methods of detecting and preventing RCF (inspection, grinding) are briefly described. The report by Professor Rod Smith at Imperial College, commissioned by the Railway Safety Research Programme following the derailment at Hatfield, 'Rolling contact fatigue of Rail', gives a review of the issues surrounding RCF and suggests areas for further research. Areas identified for future work are: risk modelling of the different factors and consequences of RCF to allow the prioritisation of control measures and to manage the risks; the development of models of the physical processes leading to the initiation and propagation of RCF cracks, and their likelihood of developing into fractures; wheel/rail lubrication processes; the acoustic monitoring of rail conditions; and wheel impact measurement.

Engineering, vol.245, no.7. July/Aug.2004. pp.62-63.

Ageing US rail network is stuck in a one-track world

Following all-time record freight volumes in the USA, the weaknesses of the rail system are being revealed. Large scale investment is required to modernise the US's 19th century network. 40% of US freight is carried by rail and freight volume is predicted to double over the next 20 years.

Financial Times. 13 Sept.2004. p.22.

BS 11:1985

Corrigendum 1 AMD 15105 for the above standard, 'Specification for railway rails,' has been issued by BSI.

[BSI] Update Standards. Sept.2004. p.18.

BS EN 13674-1:2003

Corrigendum 1 AMD 15298 for the above standard, 'Railway applications. Track. Rail. Part 1: Vignole railway rails 46 kg/m and above', has been issued.

[BSI] Update Standards. Sept.2004. p.21.

EN 14969

British Standard draft 04/30098132 DC has been issued for EN 14969, 'Railway applications. Track. Qualification of railway trackworks contractors'.

[BSI] Update Standards. Sept.2004. p.36.

A new European rail agency

The EU has established the European Rail Agency, based in Lille/Valenciennes, France. Its primary aim will be to advise the European Commission on a number of tasks - common safety methods and targets; safety certification; specifications for interoperability and its monitoring; certification of maintenance workshops; monitoring of vocational competences of safety critical staff; and the registration of rolling stock. ERA staff will be appointed for a five year period from the rail industry and the Commission of member states. The full complement of 100 employees will be 90% railway professionals.

Rail Safety and Standards Board Information Bulletin, no.71. Aug.2004. p.5.

Early slab track design revived on high speed line

A ballastless track trial, used by heavy traffic for 25 years without maintenance other than to the rails, is described. DB (Deutsche Bahn) Netz has chosen the technology for Germany's second 300 km/h line, despite its higher initial capital cost. Slab design and installation are detailed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.160, no.9. Sept.2004. pp.571-572.

Amey makes the grade in rail welding

The Institute of Rail Welding (IoRW) has awarded its rail welding accreditation to Amey, a major support service company of Network Rail. Previously each contractor was responsible for the training of track welders. As a means of ensuring consistency and high standards, Network Rail now requires all its contractors to be accredited by IoRW.

Railway Strategies, no.26. Sept.-Oct.2004. p.9.

Network Rail wins out in revamp

The Future of Rail white paper has given Network Rail control of timetables and co-ordination of industry planning. The company took over network maintenance and signalling in 2002, when it replaced Railtrack. The new powers are from the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA), which is to be abolished. Other SRA powers, such as the granting of franchises, are to go back to the Department for Transport. The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) is to take on responsibility for health and safety from the Health and Safety Executive. The ORR will continue to set the price of network use by train operators.

Financial Times. 16 July 2004. p.1.

Rail review

A page of articles discuss the changes to the rail industry presented in the rail review. 'Vision of partners working along same lines' considers how the reforms should encourage co-operation between the network and train operators; 'Track operator's wishes granted' and 'End of an era for long-term plans' discuss Network Rail's gaining of powers to set timetables and to control strategy, and the achievements of the Strategic Rail Authority respectively.

Financial Times. 16 July 2004. p.3.

Railways review leaves crucial issues unresolved

A number of key issues (e.g. how train operators relate to Network Rail; how Network Rail will relate to the government, how train operators' existing franchise contracts will work in the new industry structure) have not reached definite conclusions in the white paper and are still to be resolved. Network Rail has gained significant new powers over timetabling and industry co-ordination, some coming from the Strategic Rail Authority. Some powers have been granted to the devolved Welsh and Scottish governments. Further details are given.

Financial Times. 15 July 2004. p.6.

Scots likely to gain powers over railway

As part of government plans to pass more decision making on transport to local control the Scottish Executive is expected to be given significant say over Network Rail actions in Scotland. The white paper on the future of the railways is to be published tomorrow. The Scottish Executive has been pushing Network Rail to take part in plans to extend the rail network in Scotland, with new lines to airports in Edinburgh and Glasgow; and to the towns of Alloa and Larkhall; to the Borders; plus an extension to Edinburgh's Waverley station. The white paper may give Network Rail new powers, making it accountable for spending and punctuality.

Financial Times. 14 July 2004. p.2.

Making the business case to cut rolling contact fatigue

Rolling contact fatigue (RCF) is estimated to cost Network Rail £250M per annum, and possibly more, from the premature renewal of cracked rail, including switches and crossings, plus related operating costs such as monitoring crack growth and rail grinding. A Vehicle/Track System Interface Committee has been established, chaired by Andrew Doherty, to help the UK rail industry manage interfaces by the most cost effective and efficient means. How co-operation within the rail industry can achieve this is explained. Primary factors influencing RCF are considered. The purpose, scope and structure of the Vehicle/Track System Interface Committee are listed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.160, no.7. July 2004. pp.403-405.

Winning the RCF [rolling contact fatigue] battle on the production line

Challenges to metallurgists to develop improved manufacturing processes and product developments to decrease rail head wear, and to reduce fatigue defects and RCF are considered. Tests carried out on grade 400, 400 MHH, 800 and 900 rails by Corus, SNCF and ProRail are briefly reported.

Railway Gazette International, vol.160, no.7. July 2004. pp.411-412.

Rail passenger growth leads Europe

A study by the Association of Train Operating Companies has revealed that passenger travel in the UK has grown faster than in France and Germany over the last 10 years. Freight traffic has risen 32.6% over this period, putting its growth in fourth place, following Austria, The Netherlands and Spain.

Financial Times. 3/4 July 2004. p.2.

Details of fault criticality provided by new thermal imaging camera at AMEC Rail

Some details of the company's new ThermaCAM S40 thermal imaging camera for the detection of rail track hot spots (electrical faults and failures) are given. Some comparison is made to AMEC's old PM570 system. The S40 is mounted on a diesel multi-purpose cleaning train working on the Sussex Inner lines, and links to the global positioning system.

Insight, vol.46, no.6. June 2004. p.320.

Ultrasonic vehicle-based rail inspection

Sperry Rail International's involvement with First Engineering and Network Rail in the development of the UTU 5, a new road-rail vehicle ultrasonic test unit, is described. The system has been proved faster and more efficient than conventional systems (40%), and in its first year of use has achieved a significant reduction in broken rails.

Insight, vol.46, no.6. June 2004. pp.323-325.

Inspection of rail track head surfaces using electromagnetic acoustic transducers (EMATs)

Use of EMATs, 'a pitch-catch' low frequency wideband Rayleigh wave, for the detection of gauge corner cracking on the rail head and for microstructural and stress change measurement, is described. The EMATs designed and built by the Ultrasonics Group, University of Warwick, are described; test methods used and experimental results are presented.

Dixon, S; Edwards, R S; Jian, X

Insight, vol.46, no.6. June 2004. pp.326-330. 11 fig., 1 tab. 14 ref.

Automatic defect classification in long-range ultrasonic rail inspection using a support vector machine-based 'smart system'

Results from a pilot study of a 'smart system' for the detection of rail track defects, particularly critical transverse cracks, are presented. The smart system was trained to detect defects automatically using data from a previous long range ultrasonic guided wave study. An introduction to support vector equipment is given and the procedures used to determine which data should be used to train the system are detailed.

McNamara, J D; Lanza di Scalea, F; Fateh, M

Insight, vol.46, no.6. June 2004. pp.331-337. 9 fig., 2 tab., 11 ref.

Automatic segmentation of time-of-flight diffraction images using time-frequency techniques. Application to rail-track defect detection

Novel time-frequency analysis techniques, combined with an artificial neural network, have been used to characterise ultrasonic time-of-flight diffraction (TOFD) signals and to extract distinguishable features to be used for the detection, classification and sizing of rail defects. Using the correct processing algorithms, it is expected that TOFD can be used for the reliable and accurate automatic inspection of rails, particularly fishplates and welded joints.

Zahran O; Al-Nuaimy W

Insight, vol.46, no.6. June 2004. pp.338-343. 8 fig., 15 ref.

Early warnings of the onset of rolling contact fatigue by inspecting the residual stress environment of the railhead

An update of the MAPS multi-parameter magnetic system measurement of stress levels and distributions in service rail is presented. The data is limited to specific studies into the early stages of rolling contact fatigue (RCF). Tests were undertaken on a section of 700 grade standard rail from a 1.2 km curve (1500 m radius, 150 mm cant) with an estimated annual traffic weight of 11.5M tonnes.

Buttle, D; Dalzell, W; Thayer P J

Insight, vol.46, no.6. June 2004. pp.344-348. 14 fig., 4 ref.

Rail nine times safer than car

The Annual Safety Performance Report 2003 from the Rail Safety and Standards Board lists no fatalities or major injuries in 2003; the number of train accidents on or affecting passenger lines dropped by 27% to the lowest level ever recorded.

Modern Railways. July 2004. p.8.

What's in store for UK light rail?

A national tour of all the UK's ongoing light rail projects is presented - Manchester Metrolink, Croydon Tramlink, Sheffield Supertram, Midland Metro, Nottingham Express Transit, Docklands Light Railway, Tyne & Wear Metro, Blackpool Tramway, Leeds Supertram, Edinburgh Tramway, South Hampshire Rapid Transit, Liverpool-Merseytram, London, Glasgow, and Bristol Supertram.

Modern Railways. July 2004. pp.57-60.

Railways and Environment. Contributions to sustainable mobility: examples of good practice.

A number of specific examples of ways in which railways are helping to protect the environment are presented in a report by the Community of European Railways/International Union of Railways. Particular initiatives in developing new products, new types of service and commercial concepts and new types of equipment are described as the railways seek new customers, and build on their energy efficiency, safety and use of space. The examples given show the replacement of air routes by rail (France); parcel intercity (Germany); commuting(Sweden); electric power supplied from renewable sources (Sweden); rail freight (Switzerland); steel transport (Sweden and Belgium);the Madrid-Seville high speed link; and the Oresund bridge link between Copenhagen and Malmo.The environmental advantages of rail travel; the external effects of transport (pollution, accidents, noise, etc.); climate change and global warming; transport trends and policy implications are covered.

Brussels/Paris; CER/IUR. Sept. 2001. 32pp.

Fast tracking the vlocity project

Construction of completely self-contained diesel engined car sets for V-Line and the Victorian Government by Bombardier Transportation Australia Pty Ltd is described. The company is manufacturing 38 units, capable of speeds up to 160 kph, at its Dandenong (Melbourne) facility. The car shells, made of roll formed and laser cut profiles of 301 or 304 stainless steel, are being supplied by subcontractor, Australian Rail Manufacturers. Gas metal arc and resistance welding are being employed for joining.

Australasian Welding Journal, vol.49, no.2. 2004. pp.10, 13.

iQR on line

The products and services offered through a new global sales division are being promoted by the launch of a website by QR (Queensland Rail). QR operates a rail network over 9,500 km long; it also offers services in designing, constructing, maintaining and operating a rail network. For further information see: www.iqr.com.au.

Australasian Welding Journal, vol.49, no.2. 2004. pp.16-17.

Aluminothermic welding defects

Rail weld defects are discussed by Bob Sawdon (Balfour Beatty Rail Technologies) in the light of his research work, experiences and opinions. AT welding casting process defects - hot tear, sand burns, blackholes, oxidised welds, lack of collar, geometry problems, and general weld defects - slag inclusions, porosity, cracking, and cold lapping, are considered.

Australasian Welding Journal, vol.49, no.2. 2004. pp.18-19.

Improving the performance of rail welds under high axle load conditions

Research work carried out at the Institute of Railway Technology, Monash University (Victoria, Australia), supported by BHP Billiton Iron Ore Pty Ltd, Thermit Australia Pty Ltd and Railtech Australia Ltd, is summarised. The programme focuses on the improvement of rail weld performance by increasing the understanding of the relationship between the physical and/or metallurgical characteristics of weld types, service conditions and ultimate performance. The work is being undertaken on behalf of heavy haul rail users (over 30 tonnes axle loads).

Australasian Welding Journal, vol.49, no.2. 2004. pp.26-27.

[RIA/Esmerk deal]

Rail Industry Association exporting members can now obtain market awareness reports, following an agreement made between RIA and business information provider Esmerk. The latter is to provide current awareness reports containing news (investment plans, government policies, contracts, projects, etc.) taken from newspapers and trade journals for any country being targetted in a sales drive.

Information World Review, no.202. May 2004. p.3.

The sound of safety

The use of the G-Scan inspection system, for the detection of cracks deep within rail welds, is described. The equipment, developed by Guided Ultrasonics, an Imperial College spinout company, is based on a technique originated by the Research Centre in Nondestructive Evaluation (RCNDE) at the College. The system employs a guided wave travelling along the rail, allowing it to scan 50 m of rail in both directions from a single inspection point. Internal and surface breaking cracks can be identified in the same test. In trials the system has shown it can produce a good correlation between test results and the breaking strength of thermit welds. Full product approval is being applied for this summer. RCNDE are also developing a testing device based on high frequency (20 - 100 kHz) Rayleigh waves for the detailed inspection of rail close to the transducer. This could be used to inspect composites and metals, such as ship, aircraft and nuclear power plant components. The waves cause the material to vibrate, crack edges rubbing together create heat which is identified using a thermal imaging camera. This method originated in the USA but has not previously been harnessed into a working inspection system.

Engineering, vol.245, no.5. May 2004. pp.61, 63-64.

Carillion wins £17.6M rail compensation

The payment is part of the settlement between Network Rail and the company following the former's decision to take track maintenance back in-house. £16.5M of assets are covered by the money, making the compensation aspect £1.1M, for loss of maintenance revenue from the severed five year track renewal contract. Carillion's maintenance care for the Bristol and Gloucester areas were transferred to Network Rail over the Whit bank holiday weekend. Preston, West Coast Mainline South, South Wales and the Marches will transfer at the end of July.

Financial Times. 2 June 2004. p.22.

Effect of local induction heat treatment on the induced residual stresses in the web region of a welded rail

The effects of local induction heat treatments (IHT) on the microstructure and on the resultant tensile residual strsses in the web region of flash butt welded rail (0.59%C, 0.27%Si, 0.01%S, 0.008%P, 0.02%Cr, 0.01%Ni) were studied. Microscopic studies were undertaken on the welded zone in the head, the web and the base parts of the rail. Dilatory specimens of base metal were heat treated under different IHT cycles and phase transformations and length changes obtained. The effects of local IHT on the residual stress field in the welded zone were investigated using finite element analysis. A local induction hardening and tempering heat treatment to reduce residual stresses in the web region of a welded rail is proposed.

Mansouri H et al

Journal of Strain Analysis for Engineering Design, vol.39, no.3. May 2004. pp.271-283. 20 fig., 3 tab., 12 ref.

The role and effects of the third body in the wheel-rail interaction

The third body, a solid interfacial layer in the wheel-rail contact, has been studied from different viewpoints: its presence (composition, thickness and morphology); its role with respect to load-carrying capacity, shearing behaviour and transfer of material; and the global friction coefficient. The paper synthesises studies undertaken on specimens from rails and wheels in service, and those carried out in test laboratories. The influence of the third body on friction, adhesion and damage mechanisms (wear, pits, cracks, etc.) is proposed as a first step for its inclusion in numerical models.

Berthier Y et al

Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, vol.27, no.5. May 2004. pp.423-436. 19 fig., 1 tab., 53 ref.

3,250 maintenance workers go in-house

Infrastructure maintenance in the Great Northern, North Eastern and Liverpool areas, 24% (4,660 track miles) of the rail network, were transferred to Network Rail control from 1 April.

Modern Railways, vol.61, no.668. May 2004. p.11.

Over 2 000 km under construction

A survey of metro and light rail projects around the world is presented. Work is in hand on new or reconstructed urban railways in 157 cities worldwide. These projects are listed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.160. Metro Report supplement. 2004. pp.12-14.

Crack detection in railway rails

Paper by R H Cook and R V Thomas, presented at the ASNT Fall Conference and Quality Testing Show 2003. Pittsburgh, USA. Oct.2003. pp.114-119.

Insight, vol.46, no.4. April 2004. p.239.

Long-range defect detection in rail tracks by guided vibrations

Paper by J McNamara and F Lanza de Scalea, presented at ASTM Fall Conference and Quality Testing Show 2003. Pittsburgh, USA. Oct.2003. Paper summary. p.106.

Insight, vol.46, no.4. April 2004. p.242.

Automatic segmentation of time-of-flight diffraction images using time-frequency techniques. Application to rail track defect detection

Paper by O Zahran, S Shihab and W Al-Nuaimy, presented at NDT 2003, Conference, Bransford, Worcester Sept.2003. pp.265-270.

Insight, vol.46, no.4. April 2004. p.242.

MAPS measurement of the residual stress environment in rail with rolling contact fatigue

Paper by P J Thayer, D J Buttle and W Dalzell, presented at NDT 2003, Conference, Bransford, Worcester Sept.2003. p.271.

Insight, vol.46, no.4. April 2004. p.242.

Network Rail set to spend £26bn over six years

The first comprehensive business plan from Network Rail is expected to contain a spending plan of £26bn for the years to 2010, mainly covering maintenance and track and signal renewal. The company plans to replace the equivalent of one and a half miles of track every day over this period. This, coupled with an increase in the speed of signal replacement, is hoped will result in 9 out of 10 trains arriving on time within 5 years.

Financial Times. 31 March 2004. p.7.

Bombardier to axe seven plants

Over the next two years Bombardier is to close 7 production facilities in 5 countries; the company has a total of 35 production sites. 6,600 jobs are expected to go, 85% of these in Europe where excess production capacity is highest. In 2004 Amadora (Portugal), Doncaster and Derby Pride Park (UK) will close, and in 2005, Pratteln (Switzerland), Ammendorf (Germany), Kalmar (Sweden) and Wakefield (UK).

Railway Gazette International, vol.160, no.4. April 2004. p.181.

Darling launches light rail NET

On 9 March 2004 services began on the Nottingham Express Transit Line, a 14 km light rail line from the main station through the city centre to Hucknall in the north west. A branch from Highbury Vale services a park-and-ride at Phoenix Park. The line is operated by the Arrow Light Rail consortium, which includes Bombardier, Carillion and Transdev.

Railway Gazette International, vol.160, no.4. April 2004. p.186.

Improvements in noncontact ultrasonic testing of rails by the discrete wavelet transform

The discrete wavelet transform is applied to two different configurations of noncontact ultrasonic rail testing. The first hybrid laser/air coupled configuration is suitable for detecting transverse surface cracks, and the second, a through transmission air coupled system, is for the detection of longitudinal internal cracks. It is shown that discrete wavelet transform processing can substantially improve the noise filtering and compression performance of both systems. The role the mother wavelet shape plays in the analysis is considered in detail.

McNamara J; Lanza de Scalea F

Materials Evaluation, vol.62, no.3. March 2004. pp.365-372. 10 fig., 22 ref.

Electrode for weld surfacing on rails

A MMA covered electrode produced by Kjellberg Finsterwalde GmbH (Finsterwalde, Germany), Finox 4370S, has been approved by Deutsche Bahn (German Railway Association) for the surfacing of rails with tensile strengths up to 685 N/mm 2 . Suitable for welding in the flat and transverse positions, the deposit is rutile-basic; slag is easily detached or self-releases.

Welding and Cutting, vol.3, no.2. 2004. p.77.

Network Rail controls likely to be scrapped

A number of controls over Network Rail by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) are to be lifted by request of the rail regulator. One control is thought to be requiring SRA permission to make changes to Network Rail's licence. The SRA and Network Rail agreed in February to allow the latter to borrow £3bn in extra funds for a 2 year period, with borrowing costs funded through raising track access charges.

Financial Times. 10 March 2004. p.5.

BS EN 13848: Railway applications/track. Track geometry quality

BS EN 13848-1:2003 Characterisation of track geometry. (No current standard is superseded.)

[BSI] Update Standards. March 2004. p.12.

Failure modes in aluminothermic rail welds under high axle load conditions

An increasing number of premature failures of aluminothermic welds, particularly new welds, and the need to assess the consequences of increasing axle loads to 40 tonnes resulted in BHP Billiton Iron Ore setting up a programme to review weld quality. Failure characteristics (straight-break and horizontal split-web fractures) are discussed. Welding processes, procedures, instrumentation and inspection procedures are reviewed. Improved rail welding and track maintenance practices to meet higher performance demands were developed.

Mutton P J; Alvarez E F

Engineering Failure Analysis, vol.11, no.2. April 2004. pp.151-166. 14 fig., 1 tab., 10 ref.


Trials have begun on the Lille-Calais railway line in France on running a German Railway ICE3 trainset. The ICE3 has run at speeds of up to 300 km/h to date, as the feasibility of running a commercial service from Germany onto French railway lines is investigated.

Railway Gazette, vol.160, no.3. March 2004. p.128.

Practical long range guided wave inspection. Managing complexity

Techniques to manage the complexity of guided waves are discussed and practical applications to pipes, rail, plates and rock bolts are described. The Guided Ultrasonics (Rail) Ltd rail testing system is shown.


In: Review of progress in quantitative nondestructive evaluation. Vol.22A. Eds: D O Thompson; D E Chimenti. Pub: Melville, NY, USA; AIP, 2003. ISBN 07354001179. pp.22-37.

Long range inspection of rail using guided waves

The guided waves modes that can exist in a rail are found using 2D FEA, and their interaction with a variety of features and defects is investigated with 3D time-marching FE models. Results from a prototype testing system are compared to FE predictions. Sensitivity to transverse defects and defects in alumino-thermic welds is demonstrated.

WILCOX P et al

In: Review of progress in quantitative nondestructive evaluation. Vol.22A. Eds: D O Thompson; D E Chimenti. Pub: Melville, NY, USA; AIP, 2003. ISBN 07354001179. pp.236-243.

The application of finite element modelling to guided wave testing systems

An insight into the propagation characteristics of guided waves in rails is presented. Dispersion curves are discussed and results of the variation of reflection coefficient with defect depth is modelled for a BS113A type rail.


In: Review of progress in quantitative nondestructive evaluation. Vol.22A. Eds: D O Thompson; D E Chimenti. Pub: Melville, NY, USA; AIP, 2003. ISBN 07354001179. pp.256-263.

Groundwork for rail flaw detection using ultrasonic phased array inspection.

An increase in detectability of internal transverse flaws in rail track was apparent when the ultrasonic beam was orientated off the longitudinal axis of the rail. To test this phenomenon, artificial reflectors were used to help define the extent of material ‘seen’ by ultrasonic beams and to determine how surface curvature may affect inspection. Four rail samples were studied: three worn sections with internal defects and a new rail with an as-made profile. Results are presented and discussed.


In: Review of progress in quantitative nondestructive evaluation. Vol.22A. Eds: D O Thompson; D E Chimenti. Pub: Melville, NY, USA; AIP, 2003. ISBN 07354001179. pp.799-805.

[Serco Railtest]

Authority for design scrutiny, vehicle construction, maintenance and engineering acceptance of on-track plant has been granted to Serco Railtest by the Rail Safety and Standards Board. Accreditation covers rail grinders, tamping equipment and ballast cleaners. The company is already accredited for locomotives, multiple units, coaches and freight carriers.

Railnews, no.84. Feb.2004. p.5.

News in brief

A consultation amongst the UK rail industry on the standardisation of technical and other systems across the whole European network has been launched by the Department for Transport. The consultation is a forerunner to a future European directive that is to create a single market for goods and services. The first rail interoperability directive has already been implemented in the UK, concerning new and upgraded high speed infrastructure and rolling stock. Deadline for consultation responses is 16th April.

Railnews, no.84. Feb.2004. p.8.

Ministers 'close to rail shuttle ruling'

Ministerial approval is expected soon on the £10M project put forward by Central Railway to operate freight shuttle trains between Liverpool and northern France. A government bill is required to construct a new railway line, using part of the trackbed of the old Great Central railway from Marylebone station to the north east. The line would carry freight trains with continental European gauges (wider and higher than the UK) through the Channel tunnel. The piggy-back service is not possible on British railways as a result of loading gauge constraints, and bridge and tunnel clearances. Central Railway has been awaiting a decision for three years.

Financial Times. 7/8 Feb.2004. p.5.

EN 13848-1:2003

EN 13848: Railway applications/Track. Track geometry quality. Part 1: Characterisation of track geometry.

[BSI] Update Standards. Feb.2004. p.37.

Raffarin sets infrastructure priorities

50 major rail infrastructure projects over the next 20 years, intended to help sustain the national economy, create employment and maintain France's competitive position in Europe, were confirmed by prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin at the inter-ministerial planning and development committee in Paris last December. The projects include 8 high speed schemes, and a new agency is to be set up to fund infrastructure investment. The eight high speed projects and 8 major upgrades on main lines are detailed (map included), and funding reforms are discussed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.160, no.2. Feb.2004. pp.81-82.

Crossrail to give economy £19bn boost, say studies

Ahead of the official report for the transport secretary on the Crossrail project, studies for the mayor of London have predicted that building Crossrail will generate £19bn over 30 years for the UK economy - £8bn from people able to access central London easily, £3bn from a rise in output, and £8bn from saving in journey times. The London mayor estimates the cost of building Crossrail to be £7bn, not £10bn as reported by the Treasury.

Financial Times. 3 Feb.2004. p.5.

NDT techniques for railroad wheel and gauge corner inspection

Techniques for the inspection of wheels (rim and disk) using ultrasonic testing, and the inspection of railway track surfaces at speeds of 70 km/h using eddy current testing have been developed by researchers at the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Germany. Some aspects of the inspection systems developed and an overview of test results are presented.

Pohl R et al

NDT and E International, vol.37, no.2. March 2004. pp.89-94. 13 fig., 14 ref.

Scatter of the Rayleigh waves by tilted surface-breaking cracks

Recent progress made on modelling scatter of Rayleigh waves by cracks (surface-breaking and running at around 20° to the surface) using the Sommerfeld-Malyuzhinets-Budaev semi-analytical approach is reported. Verification and validation of the resulting computer code 2DWeD is discussed.

Babich V M et al

NDT and E International, vol.37, no.2. March 2004. pp.105-109. 5 fig., 20 ref.

Rail flaw detection: overview and needs for future developments

The technologies presently employed to detect defects in railway tracks, along with examples of recent field applications, are reviewed. Ongoing research on the technology and options for the future are also discussed.

Clark R P

NDT and E International, vol.37, no.2. March 2004. pp.111-118. 9 fig., 25 ref.

Measurement and analysis of dynamic and acoustic parameters of rail fastening

A new method, using time and frequency related transformations, of evaluating response signals from rail fastening analyses is described. Laboratory measurements, and dynamic and acoustic parameter analysis of flexible fastening of the Vossloh SKL14 type are presented. The method's use in designing new rail fastening systems and their components is considered.

Smutny J

NDT and E International, vol.37, no.2. March 2004. pp.119-129. 14 fig., 9 ref.

Guided wave inspection potential of defects in rail

The results of guided wave experiments carried out on test track and on 'live' rail are reported. Preferred propagation frequencies, modelling, roots of the dispersion relations for rail, and a wave displacement sample within a railhead are presented. Non-contact air-coupled and electromagnetic acoustic transducers (EMATs) are considered as receivers of rail sound energy. Experimental results from the use of air-coupled transducers to profile the rail radiation pattern are given. EMATs were used in a rail cutting experiment to simulate a transverse rail defect. Results of experiments are discussed and conclusions drawn.

Rose J L; Avioli M J; Mudge P J; Sanderson R

NDT and E International, vol.37, no.2. March 2004. pp.153-161. 15 fig., 6 ref.