VIF 2019 - Verkehrsinfrastrukturforschung F&E-Dienstleistungen

Transport infrastructure research R&D services

SafeRail - Rail head conditioner assessment procedure

There is currently no assessment procedure for the use of rail head conditioners. Within the SafeRail project, a uniform and comprehensive assessment procedure is being developed for the first time, which includes an objective evidence to ensure a defined coefficient of friction between wheel and rail and compliance with required braking distances, the non-bridging of insulated joints and harmlessness regarding environmental compatibility.

The laboratory method to be developed for the determination of the friction coefficients follows a measurement chain consisting of model tests, full scale tests for pre-validation and field tests for validation of the model test. For friction coefficients and insulated joints, influences on safety are comprehensively investigated and categorized (particularly temperature, wetness and application of rail head conditioners). A stagegate process is being developed for the cost-effective and time-efficient handling of the verifications.

Further essential results are text modules for the above-mentioned verifications for future standards and regulations, which are supplemented by aspects of rail head conditioners procurement, storage and disposal as well as maintenance and repair of application system.

3D measurement of track parts for turnouts

The motivation for this R&D project is the client´s endeavor to establish the digitalization of switch inspection to optimize the maintenance of switches across Austria. Inspection of switching frogs is done, contrary to most other railway track components, on a subjective assessment by the staff.

The aim of this project is to develop an economical hand-held device to measure frog- and tongue geometry, and rail profile in the area of switches. Additionally, dynamic loads on the frog have to be detected.

System analysis will result in a measurement concept including specifications. This concept contains 3D measurement technology as well as a load-measurement system for switching-frogs. A cost-effective prototype in modular design will be built up, with pre-evaluation of the single components in laboratory-scale.

A data model will be developed, joining the measurement data in a database and optionally sending them to a cloud. Additionally, an evaluation tool containing an alignment algorithm calculating the topography difference to visualize wear of the components will be done.

Time series data for wear and change rates will be determined by test measurements. These features combined with multi-body simulations provide the basis for determining critical geometric thresholds for track components. Therefrom recommendations for switching frogs will be derived and can be integrated in the maintenance
plan for predictive maintenance.

More information can be found here: