Advanced Rail Fastenings in India By Dr. F. A. Wingler, February 2021

With advanced Turnouts, Metro Rail, Ballast-less Rail Tracks, Regional Rapid Transits and High-Speed Line new impetus has been given to the Indian rail fasting market and applications. The spectrum of advanced rail fastening assemblies has become wider.

The promotion of indigenous manufacture of advanced rail fastening components under “Make in India” will give an impetus to the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Initiative under the self reliant Indian campaign making better use of the domestic economy and industries.

To know more about advanced Rail Fastenings download the PDF:Advanced Rail Fastenings 2

Characterisation of self-tensioning elastic Rail Clips, ERC, of PANDROL Type By F. A. Wingler, February 2021

Rail Fastening on concrete sleepers with the RDSO designed MARK III Elastic Rail Clip, ERC, has become standard in India.

The self-tensioning or self-stressing elastic Pandrol-type rail clips are manufactured by giving a spatial bend to Silicon-Manganese alloy spring-steel rods. Their advantage is the simple installation parallel to the rail. The ERCs are pushed with their leg from right to left parallel to the rail into the tunnel/housing of the shoulder plate/insert with the help of a standard hammer or a puller device. When inserted the clip deflects and develops a clamping force fixing the rail foot:

The rod-end structural element, which is pushed into the tunnel/housing of the shoulder plate, is called “CENTRE LEG”. The other structural rod-end element is called “TOE”. The “HEEL” is the middle structural element between the “FRONT ARCH” and the “REAR ARCH”.

The rail clip panted in 1957 was invented by Per Pande-Rolfsen, an employee of the Norwegian State Railway, and the person from whom the Pandrol clip draws its name.

Worldwide there are two types of self-tensioning Pandrol Clips in use:

  1. The original PR Clip with an anti-clock-wise bended geometry, shaped as the letter “e” and
  2. The e-Series Clip with a clock-wise bended geometry, shaped as the letter “G”.

For more information download the PDF:Classification of ERC`s


Metro/Tram-Trains are Multi-Talents or Chameleons, that operate locally on the City Rail Networks and as well inter-regional or between cities on Main-Line Railway networks, bringing commuters from one City Center to the next City Center without changing the transport mode. Metro/Tram-Trains operate seamless with one-and-the-same Rail Vehicle on Lines of Metros, Subways, Street Cars, Street Trams, suburban Commuter Rail, Intercity Regional Rapid Transits and Main Line Railways. The system should be unigaue, otherwise dual-gauge or gauntlet tracks are needed. Metro/Tram-Trains  combine Urban Rail with Regional Rail Transport.

The most advanced modern Tram-Train system in the world operates currently in the Karlsruhe Region, Germany, on a rail network of 533 km, using 354 km railway lines together with the infrastructures of the German Federal Railway. Further modern Tram-Train Networks can be found in the regions of Cologne, Bonn, Saarbrücken, Stuttgart (Neckar-Alb), Chemnitz, Nordhorn in Germany, Cadiz in Spain, Mulhouse and  Nantes in France, Linz and Salzburg in Austria, Copenhagen in Denmark and Szeged in Hungary. Cases for combined Metro and Railway systems in India are the Nagpur and Dehradun-Rishikesh-Haridwar Regions.

Modern Thyristor Technology enables nowadays the seamless operation under different electric feeding systems: 650/750/1000 V DC, 15 kV, 16 2/3 Hz AC and 25 kV, 50 Hz AC.

For a combined and intermodal City-Tram/Metro and Regional Railway operation the track gauge should be the same, either both systems in Meter Gauge, Standard Gauge or Broad Gauge.

With the introduction of Metro Rail and High-Speed Rail operating on Standard Gauge, India had to leave its Unigauge Strategy with Broad-Gauge only. The history and dilemma of Indian Broad Gauge is discussed in the PDF below,  for free download COMBINED TRAM METRO TRAIN AND RAILWAY TRAINS


The author worked as a technical advisor for the Indian handbook project by the authors M.M. Agarwal, S. Chandra and K. Migliani METRO RAIL FOR URBAN MOBILITY IN INDIA (2020)., first edition, 2020,  Prabha & Co. Delhi 110092, India, ISBN: 81-906656-6-14.

To gain for this book project 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.

Only 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).


To learn more, download the series of PDF files.

METRO – 10 


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.



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.


Part I, II and III of the series on Colombo Suburban Railway Project (CSRP) and the Colombo Suburban Efficiency Improvement Project, published on, 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


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