[Skip to content]



Update on the evaluation of effects of heavy-axle-loads at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing

A summary of recent results from selected experiments within the heavy-axle-load (HAL) test programme being conducted at FAST is presented. The programme has reached an accumulated 4bn gross tons of traffic and an accumulated 3bn gross tons of this total under 39 ton axles loads since its inception in the 1970s/80s. Findings on special track work (cants), steel bridges and ties and fasteners are reported.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.110, no.12. Dec.2014. pp.16,18,20.

Battersea station powers

A Transport & Works Act Order has been granted giving Transport for London powers to extend London Underground's Northern Line to Battersea. Construction for the 3.3km branch from Kennington with two stations could begin early next year for opening in 2020. The cost of 'up to £1bn' is to be funded entirely from taxes generated over 25 years by commercial developments in an enterprise zone that will be created in 2016. Earlier this year TfL awarded Ferrovial Agroman Laing O'Rourke a design-build contract covering the main construction works. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette, vol. 170, no. 12, Dec. 2014. p.1.

Seize the moment

After many years of stagnation and decline, the railway market is growing rapidly, and this growth is forecast to continue, despite the prevailing harsh economic conditions. At the same time, reform and restructuring of the rail sector in many countries has been opening up state-owned operators to competition, outsourcing the supply of equipment and services, and removing trade barriers to facilitate international tendering. Furthermore, mergers between established companies to create multinational players, spin-offs and the emergence of niche specialists have radically altered the competitive landscape. In terms of technology, the largest and most competitive sector is rolling stock, which accounts for more than 25% of the total market value. Urges caution about radical upheaval in the sector, but says that globalisation will undoubtedly continue. Concludes that the rail market is open for the next breed of mid-sized, multi-disciplinary companies, able to harness their competitive skills and adapt their product ranges.

Railway Gazette, vol. 170, no. 12, Dec. 2014. pp.26-27.

Phased-array ultrasonic rail-flaw inspection

Protoype ultrasonic phased array equipment for a rail inspection vehicle is described. The US Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) is developing the inspection system, which has the ability to steer and focus the ultrasonic beams. The roller search unit for holding the probes on the vehicle fits in the same place as standard ultrasonic nondestructive testing RSUs. At present the vehicle is undergoing tests at the TTCI Rail Defect Test Facility; tests at speed are expected early next year.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.110, no.11. Nov.2014. pp.14-16.

Class investigation into rail breaks on the East Coast Main Line

This class investigation considers the occurrence and management of rail breaks on Network Rail's East Coast Main Line. It considers those breaks which occurred at three locations during 2012 and 2013 and which, together with reports that the occurrence of rail breaks on the ECML was relatively high, triggered the investigation. None of these three rail breaks resulted in injuries or damage to trains. A rail break at Corby Glen, near Grantham was triggered by wear of the pad intended to separate the rail from the underlying concrete sleeper. Breaks at Copmanthorpe, near York, and at Hambleton, about 15 miles south of York, were due to movement at rail joints caused by inadequate support from the underlying ground. Rail break statistics show that, after allowing for differences in route length and the amount of traffic, the ECML has more rail breaks than comparable main lines. After considering both the types of rail break occurring on the ECML and the measures being taken by Network Rail to manage these, the investigation concluded that the most significant factor in the relatively high number of rail breaks on the ECML between 2009 and 2013 was the relatively high proportion of older track. The RAIB has made recommendations relating to rail breaks and addressed to Network Rail.


Abellio wins ScotsRail franchise

The Scottish government has named the Abellio subsidiary of Dutch national passenger operator NS as the winner of the next ScotRail franchise. The franchise covers almost all internal passenger services within Scotland and will run for seven years, with an option to extend to ten years by mutual consent after five years. The new franchise includes: up to 80 EMUs; transformation of inter-city services; free wi-fi on trains; a new approach to cycling, including parking and a hire scheme; more through rail bus, sea and air ticketing and reduced fares for job seekers; a Great Scenic Railway scheme to attract more tourists to the north, southwest and Borders; Stations2Stations business centres to facilitate working at stations; a 'true deep alliance' with infrastructure manager Network Rail; and union representation at board meetings, 100 apprenticeships and no redundancies.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.10.

Hitachi to build EMU fleet

Hitachi Rail Europe confirmed on October 9 that it had been selected to supply and maintain a fleet of 160km/h EMUs for the net ScotRail franchise. This is the first order for Hitachi's AT200 design. Subject to the successful conclusion of negotiations, Hitachi Rail Europe is to build 234 vehicles, which would be formed as 46 three-car and 24 four-car sets. They would enter service in 2017 on the Edinburgh to Glasgow via Falkirk route as well as on suburban services from both cities to Stirling, Alloa and Dunblane. These routes are being electrified at 25kV under Network Rail's Edinburgh Glasgow improvement programme. A further ten three-car sets would follow if the franchise extension were exercised.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.10.

Free Gauge Train

Reports that JR Kyushu and Japan Railway Construction Transport & Technology Agency have launched test running with the gauge-changing Free Gauge Train prototype on October 19. Built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, it is derived from two prototypes which were tested in Japan and at the Transportation Technology Center in the US. The Series 900 FGT is designed to run at up to 270km/h on the standard gauge and 130km/h on 1067 gauge conventional tracks. The lead cars incorporate a carbon fibre reinforced plastic bodyshell, and have dimmable window glass rather than blinds. The train also has lightweight high-voltage electrical components. JR Kyushu is planning to use gauge-changing trainsets on Shinkansen services between Hakata and Nagasaki, where an isolated section of high-speed line is expected to open in 2022.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.12.

New tube for London

Design proposals for the New Tube for London trains to re-equip London Underground's small-profile Piccadilly, Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo and City lines were revealed on October 9. Transport for London has shortlisted Alstom, Bombardier, CAF, Hitachi and Siemens for the contract to supply around 250 trainsets. It plans to issue formal invitations to tender in early 2015, with a contract expected to be worth between £1bn and £2.5bn scheduled to be awarded in 2016. The first trains would enter service on the Piccadilly Line in 2022. TfL commissioned transport design consultancy PriestmanGoode to develop its design aspirations. The brief was to maximise available passenger capacity and to provide a cooler environment. The trains would be articulated, reducing the number of heavy bogies and providing walk-through interiors to increase capacity.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.16.

Parsons Brinckerhoff

Parsons Brinckerhoff has been selected to provide asset information management services to support the HS2 project. Separately, it has won an £8M design contract for the Bedford-Oxford/Aylesbury reopening scheme. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.18.

Newag and Bombardier

Newag and Bombardier have signed a letter of intent for a long-term 'strategic partnership' at InnoTrans. Details are still to be finalised, but joint bids for rolling stock contracts are envisaged with Bombardier contributing technical knowledge and Newag low-cost manufacturing facilities. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.22.

Consortium to buy Porterbrook

The owners of rolling stock leasing company Porterbrook Rail Finance have announced an agreement for the sale of their interests to an international consortium of investors. Porterbrook owns around 5900 passenger and freight vehicles, representing approximately one third of Great Britain's passenger fleet. It is owned by a consortium of Antin Infrastructure, OP Trust and iCON Infrastructure, which announced in May that it was 'exploring options' for a possible sale. The consortium which is to buy the business comprises Canadian pension fund manager Alberta Investment Management Corporation, Allianz Capital Partners, which manages investments for insurance companies in the Allianz Group, the EDF Invest unlisted investment arm of EDF which supports its long-term nuclear decommissioning commitments, and funds managed by Australian infrastructure investor Hastings Funds Management.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.22.

SJ embraces remote bearing monitoring

With SJ, Sweden's national rail opeRator facing competition on its busiest inter-city corridor from next March, it has launched a mid-life refurbishment programme to update its 43 SJ2000 tilting inter-city trains. One novel aspect of the work is the installation of 40 sets of Perpetuum's bearing and wheel set monitoring equipment on both powered and trailer wheelsets. At the heart of this technology is a vibration harvester, which converts vibration into a reliable electrical energy supply. For the last four years, Perpetuum, developed by academics at the University of Southampton, has been developing self-powered sensors that can be directly mounted on to bogie components, and a set of algorithms that can drive condition-based maintenance programmes.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.64.

Fuel cell train prototype

Alstom Transport hopes to have 40 fuel cell-powered regional trains in commercial service on regional lines in Germany by 2020 under an accord signed at the InnoTrans trade show in Berlin on September 24. Under the letters of intent signed between Alstom, the Länder of Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen and Baden-Würtemberg and the transport authority of Hesse, two prototype trains are to be developed by the end of 2018 for revenue service trails using modified Coradia Lint multiple units. The powertrain will use roof-mounted hydrogen fuel cells, batteries and energy storage systems to replace the under floor diesel power pack, giving equivalent performance to an electric multiple-unit. While the fuel cells will feature 'proven technology' already deployed in the automotive sector, Alstom will provide the software, control and energy storage equipment. Citing commercial confidentiality, the company would not be drawn on the type of battery and energy storage tools to be adopted.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.72.

Rail welding research

Premium rail manufacturer, Voestalpine Schienen GmbH, has established a specialist rail welding institute to undertake research into the effects of welding on high-performance rails, including heat-treated and other specialist steel grades. Building on the company's existing accredited laboratory for weld testing and defect analysis, the Competence Centre Welding will be based at a new facility now under construction at Leoben, close to the company's high-tech rail mill at Donawitz. The CCW is intended to undertake research into all welding processes, such as flash-butt, stick, wire, aluminothermic, and shielded arc. The company hopes that this will 'shape the future development of welding procedures for new and existing products'. As well as hosting customer demonstrations and workshops, the CCW will provide training courses in rail welding for infrastructure managers and other track workers.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.74.

Looking to enter the UK

Polish rolling stock manufacturer Pesa Bydgoszcz is 'looking forward to entering the British market' according to Michal Cholody, Head of Western Markets Marketing. Pesa is an approved supplier to Deutsche Bahn, which has signed a framework agreement for up to 470 regional DMUs including single car units, and Cholody said it has already held preliminary discussions with DB's Arriva subsidiary in the UK. Cholody said that Pesa would require an initial order of sufficient size to justify the cost of type approval, perhaps of the order of 10 of multiple-units. The company believes that the UK's willingness to cross-accept European component approvals would facilitate an affordable entry to the market, although meeting UK standards on steel and aluminium bodyshell design would require some work. (Item contains little further information.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.78.

National College for High Speed Rail locations announced

The National College for High Speed Rail is to have its headquarters in Birmingham and a second site in Doncaster, the UK government announced on September 30. The College is planned to open in 2017 and will provide specialist vocational training for engineers to work on High Speed 2 and future projects. The government said as many as 2,000 apprenticeship opportunities would be created by HS2, with around 25,000 people employed during construction. The two locations were selected under a bidding process which assessed criteria including the size and availability of a suitable site, accessibility, and the potential to develop strong links with employers and providers already operating in the sector.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.81.

Commission seeks Shift2Rail associates

The European Commission has invited organisations to express interest in becoming associated members of the Shift2Rail initiative, which is to invest almost €920M in railway research and innovation in 2014-20. Associated members would be selected in early 2015 and would work with the Commission and the eight Shift2Rail founding members to 'deliver new technologies that will help to increase the quality, reliability and punctuality of ail services while also slashing their cost and facilitating cross-border travel'. There are five work streams: cost-efficient and reliable trains; high-capacity infrastructure; advanced traffic management and control systems; IT for attractive railway services; and technologies for sustainable and attractive European freight.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.81.

Derailment of a freight train at Porthkerry, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales, 2 October 2014

The Rail Accident Investigation Board is investigating a derailment that occurred on the line between Barry and Bridgend, in the early hours of Thursday 2 October 2014. At about 02:30 hrs, the last two wagons of a loaded freight train (reporting number 6B81) derailed on the Down line between Porthkerry No. 1 Tunnel and Porthkerry Viaduct. The train comprised a class 66 locomotive pulling 21 loaded coal wagons and was en-route from Avonmouth to Aberthaw power station. The derailed wagons were dragged to a stand causing extensive track damage over a distance of about 80 metres. The driver, who was uninjured, discovered that the last two wagons were derailed when walking back to inspect his train. The preliminary examination has revealed that the derailment was almost certainly caused by a defective rail which collapsed as the freight train passed over it. The RAIB's investigation will examine the sequence of events leading up to the accident and the cause of the rail failure. This will include consideration of the design, inspection and maintenance of the track. It will also examine what was known about the condition of the rail prior to the derailment and the adequacy of any plans that were in place to manage the risk of the rail failing.


Freight train derailment near Gloucester

At about 20:15 hrs on 15 October 2013, a freight train operated by Direct Rail Services, which was carrying containers, derailed about 4 miles south west of Gloucester station on the railway line from Newport via Lydney. It was travelling at 69 mph when the rear wheelset of the last wagon in the train derailed on track with regularly spaced dips in both rails, a phenomenon known as cyclic top. The train continued to Gloucester station where it was stopped by the signaller, who had become aware of a possible problem with the train through damage to the signalling system. The immediate cause of the accident was a cyclic top track defect which caused a wagon that was susceptible to this type of track defect to derail. The dips in the track had formed due to water flowing underneath the track and although the local Network Rail track maintenance team had identified the cyclic top track defect, the repairs it carried out were ineffective. The severity of the dips required immediate action by Network Rail, including the imposition of a speed restriction for the trains passing over it, but no such restriction had been put in place. Speed restrictions had repeatedly been imposed since December 2011 but were removed each time repair work was completed; on each occasion, such work subsequently proved to be ineffective.


Crude-by-rail safety standards call for better tank cars, reduced speeds

The US Department of Transportation has proposed new rules for transporting crude by rail that are designed to lessen the frequency and consequences of train accidents by reducing the speed of trains, improving tank car standards, and setting more-robust testing and classification guidelines for crude cargoes. The DOT proposal, drafted by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, would require tank cars constructed after October 1, 2015, to conform to new design requirements - known as DOT Specification 117 - for enhanced thermal, top-fitting, and bottom-outlet protection systems as well as improved tank head and shell-puncture resistance. Three tank car design options are proposed for the new DOT-117 rail car standards. The three options are distinguished by their shell thickness and enhanced breaking-system requirements. Two options call for tank car shells with a thickness of 9/16 in., while the third calls for a thickness of 7/16 in. Each option also contains a unique braking standard; one calls for the use of a two-way end-of-train device, the other for distributed power braking, while the third requires electronically controlled pneumatic brakes. PHMSA considers any train carrying 20 or more carloads of Bakken crude, or other Class 3 flammable liquid such as ethanol, a high-hazard flammable train.


HS2 college race winners revealed

Two locations- in Doncaster and Birmingham - are to become the home of the new National High Speed Rail College. The college will train thousands of new engineers, who are needed to deliver billions of pounds worth of rail contracts over the coming decades, including the new HS2 high-speed rail line. The successful Centre for Rail Engineering and Technical Expertise (CREATE) bid, coordinated by Doncaster Council, involved a range of private sector businesses and was supported by the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership. The College will be built on a 'ready to go' 5.1 acre site at Doncaster's Lakeside. It will be within walking distance of household names in the rail industry, such as DB Schenker, Volker Rail and Hitachi, and offers easy access for employers and students from across the UK.


Comparison of the fatigue and impact fracture behaviour of five different steel grades used in the frog of a turnout

Materials requirements for the manufacture of frogs were investigated. Five different steel grades were studied: Hadfield steel (an Mn-13, abrasion-resistant grain-refined steel with 400 HV); bainitic railway steel; tempered steel 51CrV4 (DIN 1.8159) and maraging steel. In-service responses to high impact forces, cyclic loading and fracture resistance were measured and compared. A free pdf of this paper is available at: http://pif.sagepub.com/content/228/6/603.

Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit August 2014 vol.228, no.6. pp.603-610

Effect of head wear and lateral forces on underhead radius crack propagation

The effect of rail head wear and lateral forces on underhead radius (UHR) stress conditions and the resulting stress intensity factors of a long transverse crack was investigated. A long transverse crack was introduced at the gauge corner and its propagation behaviour across the UHR studied under various situations. Contact loads were applied to the rail head at various eccentric locations and crack behaviour evaluated with respect to different worn rail profiles. The influence of tensile bending stresses at the UHR, which is associated with contact loads, along with a combination of the lateral bending of the whole rail profile and localised vertical and lateral bending of the head-on-web were included.
Free pdf of this paper available at: http://pif.sagepub.com/content/228/6/620.full.pdf+html.

Proc. IMechE Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, vol.228, no.6. 2014. pp.620-630.

Reclassification nationalises NR

Network Rail was formally declared a part of central UK government as from 1 Sept.2014, as an 'arms length public body' within the Department for Transport. The move is to comply with EU accounting rules, reclassifying NR debt from private to the public sector.

Railway Gazette International, vol.170, no.10. Oct.2014. p.8.

Suburban EMU order

Siemens and Angle Trains have been selected by South West Trains to supply 30 five-car electric multiple units. The EMUs will be Class 707 Desiro City model, with deliveries from 2017-2018.

Railway Gazette International, vol.170, no.10. Oct.2014. p.10.

Intercity Express on test

Low speed trials of the new Class 800 trainsets, being manufactured by Hitachi (Kasado, Japan) for the UK Intercity Express Programme, have begun. The specification of the trainsets is briefly given.

Railway Gazette International, vol.170, no.10. Oct.2014. p.12.

Siemens selected to build Florida fleet

Siemens has been chosen to supply trainsets for a proposed Miami-Orlando service by All Aboard Florida (AAF), a private passenger promoter. Details of the new service routes to be provided within Florida by AAF are summarised.

Railway Gazette International, vol.170, no.10. Oct.2014. p.12.

London Underground awards Battersea extension

Ferrovial Agroman Laing O'Rourke has been chosen by LU to design and build the 3.5 km extension to the London Northern Line (Kennington - Nine Elms/Battersea). The total project is expected to take 6 years to complete, with construction starting in Spring 2015.

Railway Gazette International, vol.170, no.10. Oct.2014. p.16.

Towards a better understanding of track degradation

An approach designing railway track as a structure, just like a bridge or building, is proposed. Using numerical simulation and structural analysis, proper dimensioning and maintenance, and the creation of a catalogue of degradation processes and failure mechanisms in order to consolidate and combine existing knowledge and software tools is discussed with the aim of reducing costs and increasing operational safety.

Railway Gazette International, vol.170, no.10. Oct.2014. pp.52-54.

Track performance under heavy-axle-loads at the eastern and western mega sites

The effects of heavy-axle-loads (HAL) on railway infrastructure is under continuous test at two revenue service test sites, one with an estimated annual tonnage of 220-250 million gross tons (mgt) and another with 55 mgt, with the aim of understanding long-term impacts of HAL and the root causes of track-related problems. This latest update of HAL investigations discusses the performance of rail-life extension on premium rails with and without an optimised grinding schedule, and the effects of rail-life extension on intermediate strength rail. The results of tests on improved rail welding practices (running surface degradation of electric flash-butt welds), half-frame tie performance, frog system performance, elastic fastener performance, fibre-reinforced bridge ties, insulated rail joints and remedies to bridge approach degradation are considered. The investigations are being carried out by the US Transportation Technology Center, Inc. under a programme funded by the Association of American Railroads and the Federal Railroad Administration.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.110, no.9. Sept.2014. pp.18, 20, 22-24.

Reducing the weight of aircraft interiors

French company SMTC is introducing Dynatech, a thermoplastic sandwich panel reported to offer significant weight and cost savings in aircraft and train interior applications. The Dynatech sandwich panel can be used to manufacture complex shaped parts, including seats, overhead bins, sidewalls, trolleys, galleys, tables and doors. It is reported to offer a 20-40% weight saving potential and a 10-30% cost saving potential over materials currently in use, including sandwich panels based on phenolic resin/Nomex honeycomb and those based on aluminium. It also offers better mechanical performance and higher fire/smoke/toxicity values. Dynatech parts are also recyclable.

Reinforced Plastics, July/Aug. 2014. pp.36-37.

Effects of heavy-axle loads on electric flash-welded surface degradation

Methods to mitigate and remediate weld degradation have been developed by the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI). The background to the investigation on electric flash-butt weld (EFBW) degradation is described; in service degradation and laboratory investigations are discussed. In May 2014 eight further EFBWs were selected for monitoring and will be the subject of a future report.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.110, no.7. July 2014. pp.11-13.

Gripping fastening systems

A descriptive round-up of fastening systems available in the USA is presented, organised by manufacturer: Amsted RPS, L.B. Foster, Lewis Bolt & Nut, Pandrol USA, Rail Forge and Vossloh.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.110, no.7. July 2014. pp.14-16,18.

The search for stronger welds forges research efforts

The efforts of a number of US rail welding service providers to develop new products and stronger, longer lasting welds are reported. Included are Chemetron Railway Products (new welding facility); E.O. Paton (Hong Kong) Ltd (new weld head designed for welding crossings in close proximity to rails); Holland L.P. (long reach welder for welding turnouts and insulated joints from the trackside); Lincoln Electric Copying (improvements to equipment, consumables and training methods for manganese steel welders); Orgo-Thermit, Inc. (Head Alloyed Welding process incorporating a patented plug with alloying elements for in situ microalloying, plus rail grinding); Plasser American Corporation (new welding head and APT 1500R welding robot); and Railtech Boutet (QP Hybrid Welding System, Head Wash Repair Welding, Startwel Ignition System).

Railway Track and Structures, vol.110, no.7. July 2014. pp.26-28,30,32.

Greenbrier announces railcar orders valued at $460 million

New orders for 5600 railway carriage units, including 1200 intermodal platforms, have been received by Greenbrier Companies, Inc (Lake Oswego, OR, USA). The carriage types range widely - hoppers, boxes, gondolas and tankers.

Welding Journal, vol.93, no.6. June 2014. p.19.

Traxx ME for Sylt Shuttle

Bombardier is to supply seven Traxx Multi-Engine locos for use on Deutsche Bahn's 40km Niebüll-Westerland Sylt Shuttle car-carrying service across the 11km Hindenburgdamm causeway connecting the North Sea island of Sylt with mainland Schleswig-Holstein. The contract has been placed within a 2011 framework agreement for up to 200 Traxx ME locomotives and has a 'value based on the list price' of approximately Euros 27M. Two locos are to be deployed on the Sylt Shuttle from the end of 2015. From mid-2016 each train will be hauled by one 2.4 MW Traxx ME instead of two Class 218s. Traxx ME can shut down three of its four Stage IIIB-compliant engines during the frequent shunting moves, cutting emissions and noise.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170,no. 7, July 2014. p.8.

Express logistics test

On the night of June 4-5, Colas Rail and TNT Express operated a trial train carrying express parcels and perishable products from Rugby to London. Organised by consultancy Intermodality, the run was intended to demonstrate the feasibility of using rail for 'high-speed, low-carbon deliveries into the heart of towns and cities'. It was formed of former car carrier vans, which are suitable for carrying traffic in roll cages: these had previously been used by Stobart for a trial in 2012. An Intermodality spokesman said 'the train ran to time, achieved a faster transit than by road, used an otherwise deserted mainline station as a freight interchange, and reduced emissions by at least two thirds'.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170,no. 7, July 2014. p.8.

Govia wins UK's biggest franchise

The Department of Transport has appointed the Govia joint venture of Go-Ahead and Keolis to operate the future Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern franchise. Covering regional and commuter services into London from a wide area of southern England, it will be the UK's largest franchise in terms of passengers, services, revenue and staff. The franchise agreement includes: 150 'metro style' EMU cars to replace 1970s stock on services into London Moorgate; 108 new coaches to be introduced on the Gatwick Express service by 2016; introduction in 2016-18 of 1140 EMU cars which Siemens is building for Thameslink services; additional direct services to Gatwick Airport, including a Cambridge-Brighton service; £50M to be spent improving 239 stations;100 busiest stations staffed during service hours; and free wi-fi at 104 stations.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170,no. 7, July 2014. p.12.

Supercapacitor tram

CSR Zhuzhou has unveiled what it says is the first tram to be powered only by supercapacitors. Seven 100% low-floor trams are being supplied for a 7.7km circular route in the Haizhou district of Guangzhou under a contract signed in June 2013. The first two will be produced in Zhuzhou, with the subsequent five assembled in Guangzhou. The onboard supercapacitors will be automatically charged from a ground-level power supply at stops. This will normally take between 10 secs and 30 secs. The trams are able to run for up to 4k between charges. Mobile charging vehicles are to be deployed in case of faults at the charging points. The four section tram is 36.5m long with a capacity of 386 passengers.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170,no. 7, July 2014. p.14.

Mega EMU project gets under way

Just weeks after it announced financial close on its biggest ever EMU contract, Alstom has confirmed that 'we are already doing some metal cutting in Brazil, and the customer is working with use on the final design review'. The Euros 4bn contract signed last October covers the delivery of 600 electric multiple-nits to Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, amounting to no fewer than 3,600 cars over 10 years. The deal was formally awarded to the Gibela joint venture led by Alstom, which holds a 61% stake. Designated XTrapolis Mega (for MEtric GAuge), the EMUs are derived from Alstom's standard commuter platform, adapted for PRASA's 1067mm gauge. Discusses the challenges of the project with Gian-Luca Erbacci, Alstom Transport Senior Vice-President.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170,no. 7, July 2014. pp.40-41.

Railway construction (global) - industry report

Details a new report from Plimsoll Publishing on the global railway construction sector in 2014. The report is split into two sections and uses both a written and graphical analysis to analyse the 130 largest railway construction (global) companies. The first section scrutinises the market and includes the following: Best Trading Partners; Sales Growth Analysis; Profit Analysis; Market Size; and Rankings of the top 50 companies by Market Share, Sales Growth, Gross Profit and Pre-tax Profit. The next section focuses on company analysis and provides an in-depth analysis of the largest companies within the railway construction (global) industry.


TRB Lightweight Structures addresses the shortage of engineers

With growing concern over the shortage of engineers in the UK, TRB Lightweight Structures managing director Julie Quirke gives an insight into the effect on the rail industry and how the Huntingdon-based manufacturer is helping tackle the issue. The company has recently opened new and state-of-the-art facilities as part of an ongoing investment programme, and has already enrolled two employees in a mechanical manufacturing and engineering apprenticeship aimed at developing the company's talent. The apprenticeship scheme, which is facilitated by Peterborough Regional College, has been running for two years and TRB is set to produce its first two junior engineers by September. Once this stage has been passed they will progress to take the Higher National Certificate in Engineering. Working with experienced engineers, the apprentices have already taken on roles in key projects ranging from detrainment doors for London Underground's sub-surface fleet through to bespoke structural work for high-profile projects such as the energy efficient London Blackfriars Station.


Performance of improved rail steels under heavy-axle-loads at FAST

Results from the latest round of testing on premium and intermediate strength rail steels at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST) in a Heavy Axle Load environment are discussed. Data on the effects of lubrication, rail wear differences, deep seated shelling defects and cementite content as related to rolling contact fatigue, are presented. Manufacturers taking part in the tests are voestalpine Nortrak Inc., Panzhihua, EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel, JFE, Nippon Steel, ArcelorMittal USA, Lucchini, Steel Dynamics Inc, Trinecke Zelazarny and Tata Steel

Railway Track & Structures, vol.110, no.6. June 2014. pp.12-14.

BS EN 13232-2 Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Requirements for geometric design. (Draft British Standard 14/30294492 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2/-/9; comments by 30 Sept.2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.38.
BS EN 13232-3 Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Requirements for wheel/rail interaction. (Draft British Standard 14/30294489 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2/-/9; comments by 30 Sept.2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.38.
BS EN 13232-4 Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Actuation, locking and detection. (Draft British Standard 14/30294495 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2/-/9; comments by 30 Sept.2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.38.
BS EN 13232-5 Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Switches. (Draft British Standard 14/30294483 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2/-/9; comments by 30 Sept.2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.38.
BS EN 13232-6 Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Fixed common and obtuse crossings. (Draft British Standard 14/30294498 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2/-/9; comments by 30 Sept.2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.38.
BS EN 13232-7 Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Crossings with moveable parts. (Draft British Standard 14/30294504 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2/-/9; comments by 30 Sept.2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.38.
BS EN 13232-8 Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Expansion devices. (Draft British Standard 14/30294501 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2/-/9; comments by 30 Sept.2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.38.
BS EN 13232-9 Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Layouts. (Draft British Standard 14/30294813 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2/-/9; comments by 30 Sept.2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.38.
  Railway applications. Infrastructure. NDT on rails in track. Requirements for ultrasonic inspection and evaluation principles. (Draft British Standard 14/30269477 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.35.

Standards News

Standards notices

BS 6221-25:2000 Printed wiring boards. Guide to the rework and repair of soldered surface mounted printed board assemblies. (Standard withdrawn as it is considered no longer relevant)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.16.
BS EN 583-1:1999 Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. General principles. (Superseded by BS EN ISO 16810:2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.16.
BS EN 583-2:2001 Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Sensitivity and range setting. (Superseded by BS EN ISO 16811:2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.17.
BS EN 583-3:1997 Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Transmission technique. (Superseded by BS EN ISO 16823:2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.17.
BS EN 583-4:2002 Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Examination for discontinuities perpendicular to the surface. (Superseded by BS EN ISO 16826:2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.17.
BS EN 583-5:2001 Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Characterisation and sizing of discontinuities. (Superseded by BS EN ISO 16827:2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.17.
BS EN 583-6:2008 Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Time-of-flight diffraction technique as a method for detection and sizing of discontinuities. (Superseded by BS EN ISO 16828:2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.17.
BS EN 1999-1-1:2007+A2:2013 Eurocode 9: Design of aluminium structures. General structural rules. Corrigendum 1
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.15.
BS EN ISO 10218-1:2011 Robots and robotic devices. Safety requirements for industry robots. Robots. Corrigendum 1
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.15.
BS EN ISO 18278-2 Resistance welding. Weldability. Evaluation procedures for weldability in spot welding. (Draft British Standard 14/30284268 DC; BSI Committee WEE/29)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.29.
BS ISO 18555 Metallic and other inorganic coatings. Determination of thermal conductivity of thermal barrier coatings. (Draft British Standard 14/30279095 DC; BSI Committee STI/40)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.29.
DD IEC/PAS 62647-3:2011 Process management for avionics. Aerospace and defence electronic systems containing lead-free solder. Performance testing for systems containing lead-free solder and finishes. (Superseded by PD IEC/TS 62647-3:2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.17.
ISO/FDIS 242 Carbide tips for brazing on turning tools. (Document not issued as DPC; BSI Committee MTE/18)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.34.
ISO 14232-2 Thermal spraying. Powders. Comparison of coating performance and spray powder chemistry. (New work started; BSI Committee STI/40)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.25.
ISO 19477 Metallic and other inorganic coatings. Measurement of Young's modulus of thermal carrier coatings by beam bending. (New work started; BSI Committee STI/40)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.26.
ISO/TR 25901-3 Welding and allied processes. Vocabulary. Welding processes. (New work started; BSI Committee WEE/1)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.26.
Comments on drafts can be made online at http://www.bsigroup.com/drafts. Registering is required but the service is free of charge.

New/revised standards

BS 7608:2014 Guide to fatigue design and assessment of steel products. (Supersedes 1993 edition)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.8.
BS EN ISO 16810:2014 Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. General principles. (Supersedes BS EN 583-1:1999)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.10.
BS EN ISO 16811:2014 Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Sensitivity and range setting. (Supersedes BS EN 583-2:2001)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.10.
BS EN ISO 16823:2014 Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Transmission technique. (Supersedes BS EN 583-3:1997)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.10.
BS EN ISO 16826:2014 Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Examination for discontinuities perpendicular to the surface. (Supersedes BS EN 583-4:2002)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.10.
BS EN ISO 16827:2014 Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Characterization and sizing of discontinuities. (Supersedes BS EN 583-5:2001)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.10.
BS EN ISO 16828:2014 Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Time-of-flight diffraction technique as a method for detection and sizing of discontinuities. (Supersedes BS EN 583-6:2008)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.10.
EN 14700:2014 Welding consumables. Welding consumables for hard-facing
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.35.
EN 16392-2:2014 Nondestructive testing. Characterisation and verification of ultrasonic phased array equipment. Probes
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.35.
EN 28510-1:2014 Adhesives. Peel test for a flexible-bonded-to-rigid test specimen assembly. 90° peel
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.35.
PD IEC/TS 62647-3:2014 Process management for avionics. Aerospace and defence electronic systems containing lead-free solder. Performance testing for systems containing lead-free solder and finishes. (Supersedes DD IEC/PAS 62647-3:2011)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.14.

Field evaluation of improved rail welding methods

Preliminary results of tests of heat affected zone (HAZ) overlay treatments of in-service rail thermit welds, carried out by the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI), are reported. Head alloyed thermit welds with HAZ overlay were compared with those without HAZ overlay. Test welds accumulated 108 million gross tons (mgt) and those in service, 51-54 mgt, with one untreated weld failure. Combined HAZ overlaying and head alloying was found to be the most effective at reducing running surface degradation.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.110, no.4. April 2014. pp.14-17.

As crude oil shipments soar, rail carriers step up safety

With more North American crude oil shipments being shifted by rail, attention is focused on tank cars, most of which are DOT-111s that are overdue to be retrofitted or decommissioned. In the wake of recent accidents, rail carriers are attempting to gain public support for crude oil shipments by rail. Canadian Pacific and Canadian National railways have recently announced a $325 surcharge on older DOT-111 cars laden with crude oil. Burlington Northern Santa Fe wants to take more control over crude oil shipments by boosting its ownership of rail cars. In February it unveiled a $5bn capital expenditure plan, including $1.6bn for new rolling stock. Further, the Association of American Railroads has said that freight railroads have agreed with the US Department of Transportation to eight voluntary safety measures to lessen the risks of moving crude by rail. As a result of these concerns, the tank car business is booming and Dallas company Trinity Industries says that it expects to deliver approximately 65,000 railcars in 2014.

Engineering News-Record, vol. 272, no. 8, 17 Mar. 2014. pp.12-13.

Sensors for high accuracy inspections of rails

Reports that Tata Steel Rail France has recently retrofitted its rail end straightness inspection systems with Keyence's latest generation of CCD laser displacement sensors, the LK Series. During rail inspection, a carriage moves along the end of a rail at a rate of 3m/sec and over a distance of 3.2m. The carriage is equipped with two LK-G triangulation sensors. The sensors generate a 2D profile of the rail surface at a rate of 10,000 sample points per second. If the rail is not straight, it is transferred to a press to be straightened to within the desired tolerance. Measurements are extremely fast and the measurement accuracy achieved is in the order of a few hundredths of a millimetre. Tata Steel needed a laser sensor that could meet a number of high requirements: be able to adjust itself to shiny rail surfaces, take measurements very quickly to keep up with fast production rates and withstand harsh operating conditions

Eureka, vol. 34, no. 3, Mar. 2014. p.16.

Crossrail train contract

Bombardier Transportation has won the contract from CAF and Hitachi to supply and service trains for Crossrail. The deal covers 65 9-car trainsets with an option for a further 18. A new depot is to be built for servicing which will support 80 rolling stock maintenance jobs. The servicing contract will last for 32 years.

Railway Gazette International, vol.170, no.3. March 2014. p.15.

Future railway competition seeks innovative solutions

A 30-year vision for GB railways envisages intelligent self-monitoring systems, which will enable targeted, risk-based maintenance and repair of rail infrastructure assets, delivering improved reliability, fewer delays, increased capacity, resilience, safety and all-round improvements in the performance of the rail business. With a mission to accelerate the uptake of innovation by the rail industry, the Enabling Innovation Team is planning a number of targeted funding calls in the coming months, in line with this vision and in response to the challenges facing the rail industry. The current competition, on remote condition monitoring, offers 90% funding and has a budget of up to £3M. It is seeking innovative proposals for how the railway industry can exploit technology, use data and develop processes to remotely monitor the condition of the rail infrastructure. Innovators and developers across all sectors are invited to apply their ideas to address this question across ten challenge areas.

Insight, Jan. 2014. p.6.

Two new prepreg systems for railway rolling stock applications

Reports that Cytec Industrial Materials is adding two new products to its rail portfolio to meet the fire requirements of EN45545-2;2013. The first product, MTM348FR, is a versatile curing epoxy resin prepreg matrix offering fire protection to category HL2. In combination with either glass or carbon fibres, it gives excellent mechanical performance and is ideal for the manufacture of lightweight composite components for both interior and exterior structural and non-structural applications. The second, XMTM 30, is a development product produced from a biorenewable sustainable source that meets the requirements of category HL3. It is particularly suitable for the production of non-structural interior components.

JEC Composites Magazine, no. 87, Mar. 2014. p.13. http://tinyurl.com/m5ehtne

£1bn Crossrail rolling stock contract goes to Bombardier in the UK

The intention to award a contract to deliver rolling stock and a new depot for Crossrail with a capital value of around £1bn to Bombardier has been announced by Transport for London and the Department for Transport. The contract between TfL and Bombardier covers the supply, delivery and maintenance of 65 new trains and a depot at Old Oak Common. The contract award is subject to a ten day standstill period. TfL will run Crossrail as part of its integrated transport services for London, including ticketing and customer travel information. Bombardier has confirmed that the new trains will be manufactured and assembled at their plant in Derby. This contract will support 760 UK manufacturing jobs plus 80 apprenticeships. An estimated 74% of contract spend will remain in the UK economy. The construction of the maintenance depot at Old Oak Common will support 244 jobs plus 16 apprenticeships. When fully operational, the depot will support 80 jobs to maintain the new fleet of trains.


Need to know: Engineering

Bombardier has won the £1bn Crossrail contract for high-frequency, high-capacity trains. The contract will create 650 jobs at its Derby site and secure 600 more at another site.

The Times, 7th February 2014, p.38

Siemens wins US loco order

Illinois Department of Transportation has selected Siemens as a preferred bidder for a contract to supply around 35 diesel locomotives with a maximum speed of 200km/h. IDOT is leading a joint procurement on behalf of Illinois, California, Michigan, Washington and Missouri. The Federal Railroad Administration has allocated $808M to fund a next generation fleet to operate inter-city services in the five states. As well as the locomotives, this includes 130 double-deck coaches ordered from Nippon-Sharyo in a process led by California DoT. The Siemens diesel-electric locos would have Cummins QSK95 engines meeting Tier 4 emissions standards, and would be manufactured 'with all their component parts' in the US.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. p.7.

Marathon runs longer train

Fret SNCF, Kombiverkehr and RFF have run their first 1.5km-long freight train between Lyon and Nimes in January, marking the start of the demonstration phase of the Project Marathon research programme. Three of Kombiverkehr's regular intermodal trains between Germany and Spain were reformed as pair of 750m-long trains, which were in turn coupled as a single 70-wagon unit with a maximum trailing load of 4,000 tonnes. The first train was hauled by two Alstom Class 37000 electric locos, one at the front and the second in the middle controlled remotely using distributed power technology. The aim of Project Marathon is to reduce operating costs by 30% and increase the capacity of key freight corridors.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. p.10.

Signalling contract to be re-let

Transport for London plans to invite re-tenders in mid-2014 for the re-signalling of London Underground's Sub-Surface Lines, which had been awarded to Bombardier in mid-2011. Covering the Metropolitan, District, Circle and Hammersmith & City lines, the programme is due to see the installation by 2018 of communications-based train control on 310km of track serving 113 stations, together with the remodelling of 36 congested junctions. Bombardier was awarded a £354M contract in June 2011 to install its Cityflo 650 CBTC technology. The company has already undertaken preparatory work reportedly valued at around £80M. LU and Bombardier have agreed that LU should re-let the contract. Meanwhile, Bombardier will continue to supply the fleet of 191 air-conditioned S-Stock trainsets, which are scheduled to be delivered by 2016.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. p.15.

Bombardier to run commuter line

Vancouver regional transport authority TransLink has awarded Bombardier Transportation a contract to operate West Coast Express commuter rail services from May 2014. The C$17M contract runs for five years, with options for three additional five-year periods. West Coast Express was launched in 1995 and now carries more than 2.8M passengers per annum on a 68km route between Mission and central Vancouver. Five services run into the city on weekday mornings, returning in the evening. Services are operated using 44 locomotive-hauled Bombardier double-deck coaches. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. p.16.

Tognum AG

Tognum AG has been renamed Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG reflecting its ownership by an equally-owned joint venture of Rolls-Royce and Daimler. The MTU brands are to be retained. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. p.22.

Balfour Beatty sells Scandinavian business

Strukton Rail is to acquire Balfour Beatty Rail Scandinavia and its rail, infrastructure maintenance, renewals and construction activities in Sweden and Denmark, which will operate under the Strukton Rail brand. Balfour Beatty said that the sale would be worth around £4M in cash, subject to adjustments based on completion accounts and pension liabilities. Sweden's competition authority has approved the transaction, while the limited size of the Danish element means that it does not require regulatory approval in that country. Balfour Beatty is also holding discussions with potential buyers for the German business, and has started preliminary discussions for the sale of its Italian business. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. p.22.

NR debt goes back on the books

After more than a decade as a private company, Network Rail is to become part of central government with effect from September 1st as a result of its rising mountain of debt. Challenged last year by the EU statistical office Eurostat about NR's compliance with new rules in the 2010 European System of Accounts, the Office of National Statistics announced last December that NR would in future be considered a public body. ESA 2010 introduced five new indicators of governmental control over non-profit institutions and ONS found that the government's exposure to risk was 'highly relevant'. NR's debt is explicitly guaranteed by the Department for Transport through a Financial Indemnity Mechanism, and there is a statutory obligation for the government to protect the interest of rail users should NR fail. While government funding has formed less than 65% of NR's total income since 2004-05, the company does not qualify to be treated as a public corporation, as its income from track access charges is less than 50% of production costs including debt interest payments.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. p.27.

Etihad Rail prepares to open

Reports that the UAE's national railway company Etihad Rail will be ready to begin revenue operations within the next few months. The first phase of the network will be the 264km linking Ruwais, Habshan and Shah. The company's first freight trains will be carrying granulated sulphur for Abu Dhabi's National Oil Company. Operation of the railway has been contracted to a joint venture between Etihad Rail and DB Schenker Rail under an agreement signed in June 2013. Etihad Rail hopes that the full 1,200km national rail network will be fully operational by 2018. The company is expected to form a key element in the Gulf Cooperation Council's railway network connecting the UAE with its five neighbours.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. pp.47-48.

Boom time in the desert

Reports on the number of rail and metro projects under way in Saudi Arabia which include: the Lanbridge project for a 950km mixed-traffic line between Jeddah and Riyadh; a north-south heavy haul route; the 444km Haramani High Speed Rail linking Makkah, Jeddah and Madinah; a 1,940km international railway network linking all the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council; an upgrade of the existing 1,000km network linking Riyadh and Dammam via two routes; three light metro lines in Jeddah which are scheduled to open in 2020; the construction of two metro lines as the first phase of Makkah's public transport project; a metro planned for Madinah with opening envisaged by 2021; and a six-line metro in Riyadh.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. pp.50-51.

World's fastest train poised to enter service

In 2009, China's Ministry of Railways signed a contract for 20 eight-car and 60 16-car CRHI-350 trainsets with Bombardier Sifang Transportation. These were the first series produced trains to be developed from the outset for a speed of 380km/h in commercial service. In 2012 the Ministry issued a variation order with the requirement being for 70 eight-car trainsets designated CRH380D, known in the Bombardier product range as Zefiro380. The bodyshell consists of extruded aluminium profiles welded to form a shape that takes maximum advantage of the construction gauge. All traction equipment is located under the floor or on the roof to leave the interior space free for passenger accommodation. Bombardier believes that with the Zefiro380 it has completely redefined ultra high speed rail travel by reconciling the often contradictory demands of economics and ecology. It has developed, manufactured and tested a pioneering low-noise, high-speed train with low energy consumption.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. pp.65-69.

Greenbrier unveils new rail car design for oil, ethanol transport

The Greenbrier Companies will design what it calls the 'tank car of the future' that will provide a safer mode of transporting oil and ethanol by rail. The new design is in response to criticisms of the existing legacy fleet of older DOT-111 tank cars and is intended to meet anticipated new industry and government standards for tank cars transporting certain hazardous material. It will incorporate thicker heads and more welding equipment for production lines to make bigger welds for the thicker tank. According to industry research, the bottom and top appurtenances on the legacy DOT-111 tank cars are impacted in high speed derailments. Greenbrier's proposed retrofit is targeted to improve these tank car features, and adds head shields, to achieve better performance in a derailment event.


Need to know: Engineering

Bombardier has won the £1bn Crossrail contract for high-frequency, high-capacity trains. The contract will create 650 jobs at its Derby site and secure 600 more at another site.

The Times, 7th February 2014, p.38

The found flaw

Advances in equipment and technology for the detection of rail flaws available from L.B. Foster, Herzog Services, Nordco and Sperry are reviewed.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.110, no.1. Jan.2014. pp.27-28,30.

UK to establish high-speed rail engineering college

The new chairman of HS2, Sir David Higgins, has outlined plans to open a new college, which will focus on developing the skills needed to deliver Britain's high-speed rail network. The Department for Transport said the facility 'will offer the necessary technical training to make HS2 a success and ensure it can be built by skilled British workers including rail engineering, environmental skills and construction'. Ministers are hoping the college will be open by 2017 to coincide with the start of work on the project.

www.globalrailnews.com. 14 Jan. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/kxqqdh6

Contractors make a start on Manchester's 2CC tram line

Utility diversions are being completed along the route of Manchester Metrolink's Second City Crossing. The new line, which will provide a new city centre link connecting St Peter's Square, Exchange Square and Victoria station, will further expand Manchester's growing light rail network. Transport for Greater Manchester has said the line will be completed by 2017. The first phase of the project will see gas pipes, and electricity and phone cable repositioned to make way for the new route.

www.globalrailnews.com. 13 Jan. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/ksv6g7x

São Paulo monorail takes test run

Testing has begun on the first of São Paulo's new monorail vehicles. M01 made the way from its depot to Oratory station on Friday 10 on the first of a series of test runs to trial the first phase of the planned 27-kilometre automated monorail system. Line 15 (Silver) will be the world's largest and highest capacity monorail in the world, moving 48,000 passengers an hour in each direction, according to the city's municipal government. Four bi-directional trains will operate on the first 2.9-kilometre section of the line between Vila Prudente and Oratorio, which is scheduled to open in March 2014. The first two vehicles have now been delivered and are undergoing testing. In total, 54 trains will operate on the Silver Line once the entire $6.4bn system, spanning 18 stations across the city, opens in 2015. (Item contains no further information.)

www.globalrailnews.com. 13 Jan. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/m2v22px

Tata Steel agree two-year deal with SNCF

Tata Steel and SNCF have signed a two-year deal which will see Tata supply more than 200 tonnes of track for the French rail network. The order, which will be delivered by the company's Hayange mill using steel transported from Scunthorpe, is an extension of an earlier contract with SNCF. Tata Steel will produce 108-metre length rails for France's high-speed rail lines thanks to a Euros 35M investment in 2011 to allow the manufacturer to supply longer-length rails.

www.globalrailnews.com. 9 Jan. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/molduyt

AXION receives $925,000 order for composite railroad ties

AXION International Holdings, a manufacturer of recycled plastic and plastic composite technologies used to produce ECOTRAX rail ties and STRUXURE building products, has announced that a major domestic transit line located in the south central region of the US has issued a purchase order for $925,000 of AXION's ECOTRAX composite rail ties made with 100% recycled plastic and plastic composites. AXION says ECOTRAX composite rail ties were chosen by the existing customer to be used for an annual spot replacement of rotted wooden ties. The decision to continue the purchase and use of ECOTRAX reportedly was a result of proven durability, time efficiency, and lifecycle cost savings over traditional ties, particularly in the various climates of the south central region.

CompositesWorld.com Weekly, 7 Jan. 2014. http://www.compositesworld.com/news/axion-receives-925000-order-for-composite-railroad-ties

Norway to explore future of new intercity line

The Norwegian government has commissioned infrastructure manager Jernbaneverket to draw up plans for a new intercity rail route between Hønefoss and Sandvika. The government plans to invest NOK 20M on studies for the proposed Ringerike Line which, once complete, would shorten travel times between Hønefoss, Sandvika and Oslo. Jernbaneverket will examine the proposed route of the new line and consider whether the project could be delivered through a public-private partnership. Norway's Ministry of Transport said the Ringerike Line would become one of four new planned intercity routes, alongside lines connecting Oslo with Skien, Lillehammer and Halden. The government has said it will present the findings of the research later in the year during the presentation of the national budget for 2015. (Item contains no further information.)

www.globalrailnews.com. 3 Jan. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/k656s29

Going green is not enough

Although governments around the world are keen to reduce greenhouse gas emissions many of them have made recent decisions that are detrimental to the railways. The French government has postponed indefinitely its plans to introduce an 'ecotaxe' on the use of heavy lorries, which was designed both to recover some of the external costs imposed by road haulage and to encourage greater sue of rail freight. Other countries such as Belgium and Denmark have also postponed or abandoned the idea of lorry taxes. In Germany, lobbying group Allianz pro Schiene is worried that reforms to the government's renewable energy policy would see increased carbon taxes imposed on the electricity used by railways. In Australia the government has halted all federal grants for urban rail projects and allocated A$11.5bn for major road schemes instead.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.3.

JR East unveils Series 7

The first Series E7 high-speed trainset built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and JR East subsidiary J-TREC was unveiled on November 29th. JR East has ordered 17 of the 260km/h trainsets, while JR West has ordered 10 which it will designate series W7. The 10 motor and two driving trailer cars give a total capacity of 18 passengers seated 2+1 in Gran Class, 63 seated 2+2 in Green car and 853 seated 3+2 in standard. The trainsets have low noise pantographs on cars three and seven, and will be equipped to operate on both 25kV 50 Hz and 25kV 60 Hz electrification, changing between systems on the move.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.7.

Good as new at half the price

Leasing company Angel Trains has unveiled a demonstration re-engineered Class 317 four-car EMU. The modernised traction equipment and new interiors offer operators the performance, maintenance and passenger ambience benefits of new units at 50% of the cost. The work, costing £7M, has mainly been undertaken at Bombardier's Ilford site. This included replacing the 25kV AC EMU's four DC traction motors with Bombardier MJA 280-8 asynchronous motors. New AC converters and filters have been fitted, but the original transformer has been retained. The EMU has been equipped with regenerative braking and a new brake control unit to blend regenerative and friction braking. Modelling suggests that the modified unit should consume 40% less energy, while cutting the time to accelerate to 160km/h from 223 to 177 seconds.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.7.

Electrification taskforce

The Department for Transport is to establish a joint taskforce with Network Rail to study options for further electrification in northern England. The taskforce will work with train operators, local authorities and the supply industry to produce an interim report within 12 months setting out how the schemes can be progressed. The routes to be examined include: Leeds-Harrogate-York; Selby-Hull; Sheffield to Leeds, Doncaster and Manchester; East Coast Mainline to Middlesbrough; and Chester to Warrington and Crewe.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.8.

Seeing the UKLIght

The second UKLight Class 68 diesel locomotive is due to be delivered to the UK early in 2014 following tests at the manufacturer's plant in Spain. Weighing around 84 tonnes, the Bo-Bo diesel locomotive is powered by a Caterpillar C175-16 engine rated at 2800 kW at 1800 rev/min. This is coupled to an ABB asynchronous generator, which in turn feeds four nose-suspended asynchronous motors fed by ABB Bordline CC1500 traction inverters; wheel diameter is 1100mm. The loco is equipped with dynamic braking rated at 2100 kW, backed up by electro-pneumatic brakes from Knorr Bremse.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.10.

State aid to support automatic metro research

The European Commission has cleared the award of Euros 15.2M of French state aid to support the Metrolab joint venture of Alstom and Paris transport operator RATP. Metrolab is undertaking the 'Metro of the Future' project which aims to develop technology for unattended train operation in large cities. The aim is to develop 'complete unmonitored automation' with the system able to deal with potential disruption by itself.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.14.

Eversholt Rail

Eversholt Rail has awarded Bombardier a £30M two-year contract to refurbish the 40 four-car Class 365 EMUs leased to First Capital Connect; the contract had previously been awarded to Railcare, but was retendered with an extended scope when Railcare entered administration. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.17.


Siemens has announced a partnership agreement to use Cummins QSK95 engines in a proposed 200 km/h diesel-electric passenger locomotive for the US market. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014.

Californian dream hits funding hurdle

Reports that California's high-speed rail programme is facing potential significant delays following a series of rulings on funding issues by the Sacramento Supreme Court. These centre on California High Speed Rail Authority's plan to use so-called Proposition 1A bonds to part-fund an Initial Operating segment through the Central Valley as a precursor to offering a 'one seat ride' between Los Angeles and San Francisco from 2029. With further federal funding beyond the $3.3bn allocated to the Fresno-Madera segment unlikely to be forthcoming in the near future, and the Californian state treasurer confirming that no bond sales would be enacted until these legal issues are resolved, it is unclear at present how the programme is going to proceed.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.21.

Seeking a standard way

Reports that Japan is currently chairing a meeting of the International Standards Organisation which is looking at the technical norms for the 'construction and reconstruction' of railways. It wants to see new standards adopted within three years. At present 27 countries are involved in the discussions, which were initiated in 2012 by France and Germany. There are many different sets of railway standards in force throughout the world and the International Union of Railways has recently embarked on efforts to develop a consolidated package. Under rules laid down by the International Trade Organisation, international standards take precedence over corresponding domestic regulations, and public sector bodies in particular are expected to follow ISO norms.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.24.

Eurostar stake for sale?

The government has raised the possibility of selling the property assets owned by London & Continental Railways and its stake in Eurostar International, as part of the National Infrastructure Plan 2013 which was published by the Treasury ahead of the Chancellor's autumn financial statement. Currently wholly-owned by the Department for Transport, LCR is included among the assets which the government has identified as offering the potential for sale in 2014-20, subject to 'value for money assessments and key policy objectives'. LCR has a 40% holding in Eurostar, whereas SNCF hold France's 55% stake and its Belgian counterpart SNCB the remaining 5%.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.24.

'The Fourth Railway Package is our top priority'

Accelerating the Technical Pillar of the EU's Fourth Railway Package is central to delivering whole-industry cost savings and putting the rail sector on to a path to meet the objectives of the 2011 Transport White Paper. Interviews Community of European Railways and Infrastructure Companies (CER) Executive Director Libor Lochman. Topics covered include: CER priorities and membership; the timescale for the Fourth Railway Package; international rail services; the restructuring of the railway sector in France; and how to make rail more attractive to the next generation of travellers.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. pp.26-31.

JR East aims at condition-based maintenance

The 'smart maintenance' concept now being developed by East Japan Railways envisages a switch from time-based interventions to a condition-based maintenance regime based on continuous monitoring of track condition using trains in revenue service. The project looks at three main areas of development: a switch to condition-based maintenance supported by a comprehensive database of asset condition information; a new asset management strategy that takes more consideration of the cost of repairs as part of the overall life-cycle cost; and an expert system using artificial intelligence to learn and pass on a wide variety of maintenance skills, The company is aiming to roll out the concept across its network, starting with an initial application on part of the intensive Tokyo suburban network in the near future.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. pp.37-39.

Metallurgical advances support higher-performing rails

Says that pearlite is well suited to use as a rail steel, since it has both the absorbing capacity to handle high contact pressures and a concurrent high level of resistance to material fatigue. Further development of rail steels has concentrated on the one mechanical property of pearlite that is directly linked with its in-track performance - hardness. Heat treatment has led to improved performance from rail steels, particularly when compared with chrome-alloyed variants which exhibited poor weldability. Current research is leading manufacturers to look again at the supposedly finite limit of 0.8% carbon content.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. pp.40-41.

Micro-ribbed wheel tread cuts derailment risk

Japan's Railway Technical Research Institute is developing a wheel designed with a microscopic rib towards the outside of the tread. This follows research which suggested that use of a rib on the tread could help reduce lateral forces when a wheelset is passing through a curve. This step increases the margin against derailment and also helps to cut vehicle maintenance costs.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. pp.42-43.