EUROPEAN EXISTING RAILWAY TRACKS: OVERVIEW OF TYPICAL PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES
Last modified: 2017-02-28
Railways are one of the key modes of transport. The existing aging ballasted tracks play a critical role in rail transport infrastructure. In order to identify the challenges and problems faced by railway infrastructure managers in European countries, a survey was conducted as part of the EU FP7 SMART RAIL project.. The survey consisted of two parts: questionnaires were sent to relevant specialists in various European countries; and a literature survey was undertaken.Key findings include that: (a) rail transport are increasingly globally; (b) with technological advances, rail trends are for faster, heavier and longer trains, as well as increased energy effectiveness and greater reliability, whilst trying to reduce costs; (c) most of the railway tracks in Europe have reached or exceeded their design service life; (d) ballasted tracks are the most
popular and economical track bed structure. One of the main challenges is how to enhance these existing ballasted tracks in the context of the trends for increased use. Most countries have their own standards in railway engineering and maintenance. Technical data were obtained from seven countries, which should be useful for engineering design or evaluation. The survey can be used as guidance or/and reference on railway track management and research in particularly in European countries.
existing railways; survey; aging; design service life