THE WORLD OF TRANSPORT TECHNOLOGIES; INDIAN AND GLOBAL ACTIVITIES FOR URBAN MOBILITY – METRO-NEWSLETTERS – Gathered by Dr. F. A. Wingler, September 2019

The author was invited to contribute material for a book project on METRO RAIL FOR URBAN MOBILITY IN INDIA.

To gain an overview on the World of Transport Technologies and as well on international and Indian Activities, Initiatives, Developments and Trends for URBAN MOBILITY AS A SERVICE (MaaS), in December 2019, the author launched a collection of current publications, summarized in individual METRO NEWS LETTERS. The individual METRO NEWSLETTERS have been gathered in PDF portfolios, which are free for download.

Urban, suburban and interurban public transport in megapolis area has many technical facets.

The portfolios feature global and Indian activities and initiatives as well as recent developments and technological trends for URBAN MOBILITY AS A SERVICE, including Metro Rail, Metro Monorail on Concrete Straddle Beam (ALWEG), light Monorail on Steel-Beam Guideways (INTAMIN), Commuter Rail, Regional Rapid Transit, Light Rail Vehicle and Transit, Light Metro Rail, combined Tram-Train, connection of Metro Rail with Railway, Metro Bus, Bus Rapid Transit, Metro Ropeway/Train, Suspended People Movers (SAFEGE), Rubber Tired People Movers on Guide/Roll Ways, linear Induction Motor propelled Light Metro, last Mile autonomous People Mover, automated on-Demand PodCar People Mover, low speed Maglev and Rope pulled Hovercraft People Mover, Water Metro and environment friendly Propulsion Technologies with Overhead Electricity Feeding,  Batteries, Hydrogen Fuel Cells (HydRail) and Natural Gas.

The portfolios cover publications on Connectivity – the Integration of different public transport modes into seamless urban, suburban and interurban public Transport Concepts -, on multimodal Hubs, autonomous and guided Technology, on the use of Digitalization, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Building Information Modeling (BIM) and of Artificial Intelligence (AI), on modern Information Systems as well on seamless Ticket and Payment start-to-end Concepts and Technologies.

Urban Mobility spurs economic development and expansion. Urban Mobility as a Service, MaaS, is leading to a rapid change in the economy and quality of life in modern megapolis environment and is shaping Mobility in smart cities, in India and around the globe.

Samples for successful INTEGRATED MULTIMODAL URBAN MOBILITY SOLUTIONS FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORT, IT, are the integrated and multimodal public urban, suburban and interurban transport solutions in Istanbul (Turkey), Helsinki (Finland), Berlin (Germany), Stockholm (Sweden), Mexico (Mexico), Madrid (Spain), Toronto (Canada) and Portland (USA).

METRO RAIL IN INDIA, meeting the demand for Urban Mobility, is a success story for its fast paced legislation, planning, financing, construction and operation; and in the last 14 years has significantly improved URBAN MOBILITY and changed the public transportin several Indian cities.

The Kolkata Metro was for 18 years the only Underground Metro Rail in India, opening for commercial services from 1984.

nly after 18 years, Delhi was the second city to get Metro Rail. The construction started in 1998, and the first elevated section (Shahdara – Tis Hazari) on the Red Line opened on 24th December 2002, while the first underground section (Vishwa Vidyalaya – Kashmere Gate) of Yellow Line opened on 20th December 2004. Within only 15 years the network expanded to 343 km serving 250 stations. The system has a mix of underground, at-grade, and elevated stations using both broad-gauge and standard-gauge. Delhi Metro operates with 8 lines over 2,700 trips daily, starting at around 05:00 and ending at 23:30 hrs.

Delhi Metro is a Pioneer in METRO RAIL EXPANSION and a Symbol of the Progress, that India has made in the last decade.

Metro Rail and Metro Monorail run currently in 11 Indian megacities, and are proposed, approved, under planning or under construction in 22 more cities. As of March 2019, India has 639 km of operational metro lines and 496 stations. A further 500 km of lines are under construction.

For the construction of underground sections latest state-of-the-art tunnel boring machines are used, which significantly accelerates the construction.

Mumbai operates 19 km of elevated Straddle Beam Mono Rail. Kochi has a Water Metro, and for Shimla, Darjeeling, Dharamsalam, Tsomgo Lake in Tsomgo, East Sikkim and Varanasi Gondola Aerial Ropeway Metro is envisaged. In 12 tourist places shorter scenic Ropeways are already in operation. Further Ropeway locations for local public transport under evaluation include Elephanta Caves, Mumbai, Maharashtra; Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu; Langolceiraoching-Marjing Ching, and Sendra to Thanga, Chaoba Ching, Loktak in Manipur; Bermpark-Bhawani Island in Andhra Pradesh; Vasco da Gama to Dona Paula in Goa; and in Kochi. For Urban Mobility in Chandigarh, an area with less town-dweller than in the Indian mega cities, a light Monorail of Swiss INTAMIN Technology, running on a right-of-way Steel Beam Guide-Way, is in discussion. For smaller Cities in India with less ridership-demand “METROLIGHT” or “METROLITE” as a cheaper solution than Metro Rail is in discussion. Amritsar is thinking to install an autonomous on-Demand PodCar People Mover between Railway Station and the Golden Temple.

Bus Rapid Transits (BRT) have gained popularity worldwide as a cost-effective alternative to far more expensive urban rail investments. High-quality bus-based systems also better serve the low-density settlement patterns of many suburban markets and small-to-medium size cities due to the inherent flexibility advantages of rubber-tyre systems – the same vehicle that provides speedy line-haul services on a dedicated bus-lane or reserved bus-way can morph into a feeder vehicle, collecting and distributing customers on local streets. Electric Hybrid Buses with mixed electric catenary feeding and Hydrogen Fuel Cells electricity generation combined with short time super-capacitor storage technology will become the Next Generation Urban Transport People Movers.

LIGHT RAIL TRANSITS (LRT) with LIGHT RAIL VEHICLES (LRV) are worldwide on the agenda technologies for urban and suburban public transport. LRT is a relatively affordable way to bring rail transit to many cities around the globe – also in India – filling the niche between Metro Rail and Bus Rapid Transit

The Future of URBAN MOBILITY as a SERVICE (MaaS)  has already started in India with integrated and multimodal Transport (IT) Technologies linked through multimodal Hubs and shaped by Digitalization, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (IT), Big Data and  Building Information Modelling (BIM).

As for INTEGRATED TRANSPORT (IT), CONNECTIVITY and  INTEGRATED MULTIMODAL URBAN MOBILITY SOLUTIONS FOR PUBLIC URBAN, SUBURBAN and INTERURBAN TRANSPORT IN INDIA, OF TODAY AND TOMORROW, further smart and intelligent developments are on the way to come.

To learn more, download the series of PDF files.

TRACK QUALITY AND MAINTENANCE DEMANDS FOR INTRODUCING 160 KMPH SEMI HIGH-SPEED (SHS) PASSENGER TRAINS ON INDIAN RAILWAYS – SAFETY ISSUES

The Challenge in Introducing Speeds of 160 kmph for passenger trains on IR is to meet the Demands for Initial and Inherent Quality of Track, modern Infrastructure Management, modern best Practices of Permanent Work Procedures and  of mechanised Track-Maintenance.

Prerequisites for 160 kmph are:

  • Well bearing and drained formation.
  • Long rolled rails of high steel-alloy quality.
  • High performance turnouts with condition monitoring sensors.
  • High standard robotic rail flash-but welding or digital controlled AT welding under supervision of well trained and skilled gangs.
  • Under sleeper pads for concrete sleepers and a fit-and-forget replacement rail-fastening system for the current Mark III ERC fastening.
  • Well planned, condition based and predictive modern mechanised maintenance practices and procedures executed with appropriated tools and heavy duty & high performance on-track machinery.
  • Regular preventive and target rail-grinding.
  • Deployment of automatic train protection/control.

To learn more download:TRACK AND MAINTENANCE DEMANDS FOR INTRODUCING 160 kmph PASSENGER TRAINS ON IR

MATHERAN – AN ECOLOGICAL SENSITIVE HILLSTATION IN INDIA WITH POOR ROAD-INFRASTRUCTURE AND MASSIVE POLLUTION; TRANSPORT-SCHEMES; Part III By Dr. F.A. Wingler, February 2019

Matheran is ailing under poor road-access, poor road and trail conditions, air-pollution by stirred-up latertite-dust mixed with horse-dung and under waste-littering.

Programmes have commenced to bring betterments and to improve the road and cleanness situation. “Clean-Up Marshalls” advise now tourists not to litter the eco-sensitive zone and the beauty of the nature of Matheran.

After abolition of the brake porters on the 2 feet Narrow-Gauge Toy-Train, the introduction of the dual pipe, graduate release and indirect working compressed air-brake system in combination with the old 1903 bumpy tramway coupling system has resulted in hazardous train-set jerk and jolt movements, especially on down-gradient runs, that increase the derailment proneness. Therefore, the train-speed had to be reduced, which hampers a frequent train-service between Neral and Matheran. The Train-Drivers have to run trains, especially on down-gradient and on the poor aligned tight curves, in a snail`s pace with upmost vigilance, to avoid the risks of a derailment caused by train-set jerks. On 21th October 2018, a parcel-van of the shuttle service derailed on a turnout at Amman Lodge with a lucky narrow escape for the passengers in the adjacent coaches. Luckily the derailed parcel-van did not pull the passenger coaches from the track. Within the next 10 weeks 4 more coach derailments happened. Under modern Safety and Risk Management aspects, those unwanted bad events have to be investigated and treated as “NEAR MISSED BAD EVENTS” and therefore as “ACCIDENTS”. Lessons have to be learned.

The author suggests installing jerk- and jolt-movements free force locking railway couplers, as in use on the other Indian narrow gauge railways and on other narrow gauge heritage railways around the globe.

LUXURY is not needed; but SAFETY FOR THE PASSENGERS. This means: Luxury air-conditioned VISTA-DOM cars are not needed, but sound, healthy and well aligned rail-tracks and – in conjunction with the dual pipe compressed air brake system – force-locking state-of-the-art railway couplers.

COLOMBO SUBURBAN RAILWAY PROJECT, PART IV; Meter-Gauge on KV-Trace – feasible?

Part I, II and III of the series on Colombo Suburban Railway Project (CSRP) and the Colombo Suburban Efficiency Improvement Project, published on http://www.drwingler.com, deal with the features of the Kelani-Valley (KV) Railway trace in the Colombo suburban area.

Since long the author suggests renovating this railway with Meter-Gauge and Y-shaped ThyssenKrupp Steel-Sleepers, as well to render the commuter train service with modern Light Weight Diesel Rail-Cars of Type Stadler-Bussnang, Switzerland, with middle module Diesel-electric power-pack traction instead with the heavy power-sets Class S8, S9, S19, S11 or S12.

Modern Light Weight Rail-Car Technology (see INNOTRANS 2018, 18-21. 09, Berlin, Germany) and Y-shaped Steel Sleepers make it possible to operate high capacity commuter rail-services on Meter-Gauge and as well on 760 mm (2 ½ feet) Narrow-Gauge as demonstrated by advanced railways in  North Spain, Austria, Switzerland and Germany.

Before Electrification can come on Srilankan tracks, the main problems, shortcomings, deficiencies and bottlenecks of Sri Lanka Railway have to be addressed, as there are:

  • Ailing poor ballasted rail-tracks on narrow, badly drained and yielding formation of low bearing capacity.
  • Unfavorable track layout-designs, especially in the Colombo area, with outdated designs of turnouts and crossings on tottered planks.
  • Complicated Multi-Aspect (about 60 valid aspects in use) colour light signalling without any train protection.
  • Improper and neglected repair, service and maintenance of rolling stocks.
  • Neglected and missing repair, service, maintenance, examination and certification of train-brakes systems before dispatching for a run with passengers.

To read more about applicable guidelines and solutions, download: CSRP, PART IV, PDF

COLOMBO SUBURBAN RAILWAY PROJECT (CSRP), PART III – Focus on KV-Line and Balana-Incline, Concept with Meter-Gauge and Y Steel- Sleepers

The author advocates Meter-Gauge for the upgraded rail-track on the trace of the Kelani-Valley Railway and long welded rails (LWR) on Y-shaped Steel-Sleepers with Pandrol Fast-Clips Rail-Fastening, providing several advantages over a Broad-Gauge track with concrete sleepers and Short Welded Rails (SWR). Less space is needed. Y steel-sleepers tolerate shallow ballast cushion and allow a tighter top-of-formation width. They make the track-grid resistant to the so-called “curve breathing” in curves without the need to heap up ballast shoulders as needed for concrete sleepers, and they retain the curve geometry parameters in an excellent way.

Y steel-sleepers are nowadays widely used especially on mountain railways and by railways with tight curvatures and narrow traces in Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Spain and Germany. The live-span is longer than of concrete sleepers with less maintenance expenditures as demonstrated on a 160 kmph standard-gauge test-track between Cologne and Düsseldorf in Germany.

On elevated structure, as envisaged for the KV-line, Meter-Gauge and Y steel-sleepers  demand less space, and with less ballast-cushion there is less weight.

As Rolling Stocks the author advocates Light Weight Rail Cars of Swiss Stadler design with middle traction modules, nowadays used by many advanced railways around the globe.

Modern Light Weight Rail-Cars have higher acceleration and deceleration rates than conventional Power-Sets like the Srilankan Class S8, S9, S11 and S12 with heavy Diesel-engines in power cars, and they can faster negotiate tight curves.

Micro Cars Limited in Sri Lanka has made efforts to develop Rail Mass Transport Systems in Sri Lanka using Light Weight Rail-Car Concepts in order to design and manufacture in Sri Lanka Diesel engine powered Rail Cars under the “LANKA ECONO RAIL” Project. The author designed a Rail Car based on the technology of the Swizz Rail-Car Manufacturer Stadler with conventional “Diesel Power Packs” in middle Traction Unit. For Crash Worthiness, the author suggested for the Driver`s Cabins the Stadler Concepts fulfilling European Crash Norms.

For the rehabilitation of the ailing Balana-Incline Broad-Gauge rail-track with Y steel-sleepers and long welded rails, one can learn from the complete re-engineering of the Montserrat Railway in Spain, which underwent in 1991 renovation under trace broadening using concrete retaining walls.

The author suggests for a KV Mass Rapid Transit System the deployment of Communication Based Train Control System (CBTC) or European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 1.

To learn more, free download:CSRP, PART III, PDF

COLOMBO SUBURBAN RAILWAY PROJECT (CSRP), PART II – an ambitious Project

The Colombo Suburban Railway Project, CSRP, which is funded by Asian Development Bank, is aiming at electrification of the section from Veyangoda to Panadura (64 km) in the Colombo Suburban Area of Sri Lanka. This is a 600 Million USD project, under which the Railway-Tracks will be rehabilitated and reconstructed to increase the speed from 80 to 100 kmph, the Signalling and Telecommunication System in the section revamped, the Railway Stations upgraded, Multi-Modal Centers erected and finally electrification carried out.

Whereas Part I deals with the technologies and the difficulties of re-CSRP, PART II, PDFengineering the existing tracks to become sound, healthy and fit to cater a modern high capacity Urban and Suburban Rail Transport System, Part II deals with technical solutions for the KV-Line and the Main-Line from Colombo to Kandy, especially for the Balana Incline between Rambukkana and Katuganawa, that can be learned from other advanced railways.

In order to increase the geometry stability in the tight curvatures with troublesome and narrow top-formation of the KV-Line and the Balana Incline, the author suggest making use of Thyssen/Krupp Schulte GmbH Y-SHAPED STEEL-SLEEPERS with Pandrol Fast Clip rail-fastenings and long welded rails. This track system is used in Italy, Switzerland and Germany for mountain and hill railways with tight curves and steep ruling gradients. Y steel-sleepers are advantageous on shallow ballast beds and narrow top-of-formation width and allow long-welded rails in tight curves. In curves, those sleepers provide the rail-grid with excellent geometry stability.

 A conversion of the KV rail-track to METER GAUGE would provide many advantages, especially higher speed in tight curvatures on narrow formation. METRE GAUGE CONVERSION should be possible, since the KV ends at Maradana/Fort and carries no long-distance trains proceeding on other broad-gauge lines.

As ROLLING STOCKS the author suggests to make use of modern Light Weight Rail Cars of Swiss Stadler technology propelled by Diesel-electric power packs rating 2 x 800 KW in a middle traction van/module with a free gangway for the commuters, as the author has designed and envisaged for the LANKA ECONO RAIL PROJECT, initiated by L. Perera of Micro Cars. Those Rail-Cars with middle traction run in Lithuania, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Greece.

To learn more download:CSRP, PART II, PDF

COLOMBO SUBURBAN RAILWAY PROJECT (CSRP) – an ambitious Project with a long Way between actual and Target Quality of Rail-Track

In Sri Lanka, the majority of passenger transport is by road.

 The ambitious Colombo Suburban Railway Project (CSRP) aims to increase the share of rail transport from the current 5% to 10%. The success of the project will depend on whether it will be possible to bring the dilapidated railway-tracks up to the latest standards. The substructure of the rail-tracks is still at the level of the turn from the 19th century to the 20th century.

 The upgrading of the railway-tracks will become the most difficult task within the program. The paper deals with the current affairs, the role of the bearing substructure/formation and drainage, and it points out the tasks/difficulties of strengthening, re-engineering, revamping and upgrading the poor quality rail-tracks.

To read more download: CSRP AN AMBITIOUS PROJECT, PART I

WITHOUT WELL BEARING FORMATION AND CLEAN BALLAST-BED NO STABLE RAILROAD Poor Quality Rail-Tracks in Sri Lanka

The Railway-Tracks of Srilankan Railways are a shining teaching sample that a long-lasting well aligned rail-track, matching the traffic load it has to carry, is not possible without a well drained and well bearing Formation, a thick Formation Protective Layer (FPL, “Blanket” or “Sub-Ballast”) and a proper and clean Ballast-Bed. The memory for the track misalignments in Sri Lanka is mostly buried in the poor bearing and badly drained or even missing formation. The biggest obstacle for the Colombo Suburban Railway Project, to make the track fit for faster and more frequent commuter service, are not the current 90 pound rails but the poor bearing, yielding, poor drained and unstable formations, or even the missing formation, and the improper and poor ballasting. Envisaged long-welded UIC 60 rails alone will not do the job; see: COLOMBO BACKS RAIL TO TACKLE CONGESTIONS by Keith Barrow, in International Railway Journal, August 2018, page 30.

If there is nearly no ballast or only marginal ballast and hence the Load Distribution not sufficient, the concrete sleeper will “dance” under dynamic traffic load, hammer the few ballast stones into the formation, formation material will prop up, and the marginal ballast stones get either crushed to dust or submerge in the formation. Overloading of formation due to missing ballast and missing formation protective layer cause soil to penetrate into ballast vice versa. Formation material and ballast are mixing. This happens all over insufficient ballasted SLR Tracks.

Envisaged electrification will not bring alleviation for the current low route capacity and low train speed, if not the rail-tracks from Kalutara up to Negombo and Rambukkana will face comprehensive formation re-engineering, rehabilitation and strengthening, as well proper ballasting. The current poor quality rail-tracks need constant and costly maintenance and repair – “nearly as every train goes” = former GMR Mr. Priyal De Silva – .

To read more, download: BALLAST and FORMATION, revised 3, PDF

RAILWAY PERFORMANCE IN THE LIGHT OF INVESTMENT POLICY. What Indian Railways can learn from the Performance of European Railways.

A MODERN RAILWAY OF WORLD CLASS STANDARD needs efficient INFRASTRUCTURE with a HIGH CAPACITY RAIL NETWORK allowing economical high Rail-Performance (high Route Capacity, short start-to-end Journey Time, high Punctuality and high Safety).

The whole Infrastructure should be owned and managed by one state owned Infrastructure Management Company/Organisation/Undertaking, which will be the only partner to deal with, concerning investment in and maintenance of infrastructure. The INFRASTRUCTURE should be managed effectively and economically under one umbrella out of one hand. There must be a governmental INVESTMENT POLICY, which guarantees a long-term financing agreement of long-term certainty.

Concerning INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT and BEST PRACTISE IN TRACK MAINTENANCE, as well INVESTMENT POLICY, India can learn and take lessons from Central European Railways of high PERFORMANCE.

 The Infrastructure Managers and Train Operation Companies from the Central European “Alpine Railways” (ÖBB, SBB-CFF, DB, RFI, SNCF, VTG, BLS, Shift2Rail and the European Investment Bank) are currently allocating record budgets for rail investment in the DIGITAL REVOLUTION with a Euro 205 Billion plan to revolutionise rail service. They will meet for a ground breaking event on 08th November 2018 at Vienna, Austria, for catalysing improvements of efficiency, reliability, customer experience, helping to reduce costs.

 It is the question if the Indian Government invests enough and will make the necessary structural, organizational and streamlining reforms/reshuffles in the Railway System to keep the current Performance Level or even to improve it under its MISSION MODE PLAN to become a Modern Railway?

Behind recent Indian Prime Minister N. Modi`s rejection to install on the Indian network the automatic Train Protection System (ETCS Level 1 or Level 2), there is obviously the cognizance and insight that India`s economy is not yet advanced enough to allow that more safety for the train passengers and for an increase of route capacity through shortening the headways can be made affordable by capital investment, latter needed for the implementation of a general Automatic Train Protection System (ATPS), something like ETCS Level 1 (limited protection) or Level 2.

Therefore, presently no investment priority is given in achieving more safety and higher route capacity by shortening the headways through general deploying of a modern Automatic Train Protection System on the whole network. The economic development of the country does obviously not produce enough revenue for the needed investment.

Unfortunately, the Indian Government under Prime Minister N. Modi has decided to give priority to the huge capital intensive scheme for a Journey Time Cutting Project for privileged train travelers on a stand-alone Standard-Gauge High-Speed Route between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The common train-travelers in India will not benefit from this this investment policy in terms of Safety, Performance and shorter Start-to-End Journey Times.

 The common train-traveler, who cannot afford a higher ticket prize for a time-cutting service on the envisaged stand-alone Standard-Gauge line (- which cannot be integrated in the current rail-network because of different track gauge – ), will have to travel under current safety conditions on the current slow Broad-Gauge Line.

 To read more, download: INVESTMENT POLICY PDF

 

 

LEARNING ABOUT MODERN INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT AND BEST PRACTISE IN TRACK MAINTENANCE FROM ADVANCED CENTRAL EUROPEAN RAILWAYS FOR INDIA`S JOURNEY TOWARDS FUTURE WITH THE MISSION MODE PLAN TO DEVELOP ITS RAILWAY ACCORDING WORLD CLASS STANDARDS – From “Fire-Fighting Maintenance” to Condition, Analytic and Data based Track Maintenance –

Indian Railways are suffering from a historic under-investment in rail-track assets and from a rail-track neglect of far reaching history.

India has the ambitious plan to bring its Railway System on World Class Standards. A World Class Standard Rail-Service needs World Class high Quality Infrastructure, Assets, and Rail-Tracks as well World Class best Practice in Track Maintenance; best under the regime of one infrastructure provider. How to achieve this, IR can learn from advanced Central European Railways.

Advanced Central European Railways have their distinguished rail-track service- and infrastructure-providers/operators/enterprises/companies/agencies.

Latter are governmental subsidiaries/companies responsible and in charge of the entire infrastructure and assets (rail-tracks, signalling, tunnels, bridges, stations). They own the infrastructure and provide state-to-the-art railway technology when building, constructing, maintaining and operating the entire infrastructure under one umbrella. Leading are:

  • ÖBB (Austria); ÖBB INFRASTRUKTUR AG – a governmental company, which plans, develops, maintains and operates the entire ÖBB infrastructure and provides state-to-the-art railway technology as a service to the nation.
  • SBB-CFF-FFS (Switzerland); SBB-CFF-CFF INFRASTRUKTUR,
  • DB (Germany), DB NETZ AG and
  • British Rail (UK); NETWORK RAIL Infrastructure Ltd. (UK), who owns and operates the railway infrastructure in England, Wales and Scotland on behalf of the nation.

Those governmental subsidiaries have their own management structure, their own budged and long-term Funding Agreements with their Governments, ensuring infrastructure management planning far ahead, which take into account the actual condition of the network. They generate value through engineering as a service for rail transport in their countries.

Basis for planning are Status-Reports or Audits on the condition/status of the countries’ full network with regard to their assets-behaviour in order to provide correlations with output quantities and the required financial recourses for re-investment in assets and infrastructures, and as well for maintenance-strategies and planning’s.

In Central European Railways, infrastructure management strategies are governed by Life Cycle Cost (LCC) considerations in order to minimize overall costs over the asset-life span. Guidelines for Infrastructure Management and  best Practice in Track Maintenance are summarised in the new edited book of Florian Auer, INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT, 2018 PMC Media House GmbH, ISBN: 978-3-96245.155-4, Bingen, Germany.

In his new book, Dr. Florian Auer points out:

“Needs-based and reliable rail infrastructure requires all processes associated with the sustainable preservation of the condition of the existing network to be considered and structurally planned over a period of several years. Continually updated multi-year plans assist in making efficient use of scarce financial resources.

The permanent way is a natural monopoly, also in the eyes of the European Union. Only if there is the will to provide the necessary financial resources, it will be possible to ensure the required long-term quality. The study by Boston Consulting Group on the Railway Performance Index 2015 demonstrated that countries focusing on the consistent expansion and upkeep of their railway infrastructure achieve a higher added value.

The analysis methods used increasingly in recent years, e.g. LCC (Life Cycle Costs), RAMS (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety) or the production of life cycle assessments, allow infrastructure managers to take “the right measure at the right time” in a holistic and transparent manner. Progress in digitalisation offers a huge development potential in this area”.

 The Technical University at Graz, Austria, is worldwide the forerunner in pushing up track quality under overall LCC considerations.

As the rail infrastructure companies move away from reactive to proactive based maintenance regimes, this will ultimately enable faster identification of track faults, quicker diagnosis and increased safety and performance. And, with a wide range of innovative new technologies for condition monitoring and analysis of track performance data (Data Science) emerging, there are further opportunities for driving down maintenance costs even more, and more effectively managing the impact of track maintenance on the running of train services.

Digitalisation will be the enabler of massive developments to improve efficiency and reliability whilst helping to reduce costs.

However, key strategic, technical and operational challenges need to be overcome in order to integrate these new technologies effectively into existing maintenance regimes and to improve maintenance operations.

Central European Railways, Railways in Russia, Australia and Hong Kong use monitoring instruments mounted on schedules running commercial trains (so-called Instrumented Revenue Vehicles, IRV), for train-based and in-service track-condition monitoring in target planning of maintenance.

Rehabilitations are carried out under planning methodology according  Building Information Technology (BIM) by  creating a complete digitalised Virtual Track through laser-scanning, geo-radar, 3D mapping, videoing and  photo-documentation,  provided for use to all parties involved.

In India, infrastructure management and maintenance regime are split up within too many authorities, responsibilities, advisory boards, subsidiaries and providers. Strategic planning and work execution under one umbrella is not given. In this respect, IR seems to be non reformable. Infrastructure management and maintenance regime from one hand, the prerequisite to manage a modern state-of-the-art World Class Railway, is lacking in India. It is questionable, if in the near future India will succeed to make the necessary structural reforms to reach the goal of its Mission Mode Plan” with the aim to develop its Railway according World Class Standards.

To read more, download: LEARNING ABOUT MODERN INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT AND BEST PRACTICE IN TRACK MAINTENANCE, PDF