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

MONITORING INSTRUMENTS MOUNTED ON SCHEDULED RUNNING COMMERCIAL TRAINS (INSTRUMENTED REVENUE VEHICLES, IRV) MAKE USE OF NEWTON`S LAWS OF MECHANICS FOR TRAIN BASED AND IN-SERVICE TRACK-CONDITION MONITORING IN TARGET PLANING OF MAINTENANCE

The Newton`s Laws Mechanic is useful to analyse mutual track-vehicle/wheel-rail interactions and to determine track irregularities and track defects by vehicle mounted instruments: Accelerometer Sensors and Gyroscope Devices for Rotation Measurements. This means, by measuring accelerations and rotations through instruments on board of commercial and scheduled running rail-vehicles, the cause in form of track irregularities can be determined. And by continuous track monitoring with repeated runs over the same track, the development of track-defects and track-irregularities, the development over the time of such defects and irregularities, in other words, the Track-Deterioration Rates or Velocity of Deterioration, can be measured, and the threshold for necessary interaction by repair, maintenance or renewal can be forecasted.

Automatic in-service track-condition monitoring through Instrumented scheduled running commercial Revenue Rail-Vehicles (IRV), making use of NEWTON`S LAWS OF MECHANICS, drive track maintenance efficiency.

Continuous monitoring collects up-to-date dynamic responses, which together with historical data can assist in predicting future deterioration for each section of track (= predictive condition monitoring). Based on the IRV feedback, scheduled maintenance activities can be prioritized at locations exhibiting rapid deterioration.

To read more about the deployment of scheduled running, commercial and revenue trains as diagnostic vehicles for track-condition monitoring, download:INSTRUMENTED REVENUE VEHICLE TRACK-CONDITION MONITORING_ PDF

Fundamentals of Railway-Track Engineering and Technology; Quotations for achieving sound and healthy Railway-Tracks of high Quality fit for modern “World-Class” Railway-Service

QUOTATIONS:

“MODERN RAIL-TRACK TECHNOLOGY HELPS TO CUT LIFE CYCLE COSTS”;

“A TRACK IS ONLY AS GOOD AS WHAT IS UNDERNEATH”;

“A TRACK IS ONLY AS GOOD AS ITS WEAKEST SPOT, BECAUSE A TRAIN MIGHT DERAIL ON SUCH A SPOT”;

“WITHOUT PROPER WELL BEARING AND WELL DRAINED SUB-STRUCTURE (SUBSOIL, SUB-GRADE, FORMATION AND BLANKET) NO STABLE RAIL-ROAD”;

“THE LONGEVITY DEPENDS ON DRAINAGE AND IF THE WATER CAN BE TAKEN OUT AND KEPT AWAY FROM THE TRACK-BED”;

“WATER IS THE ENEMY OF THE RAIL-TRACK”;

“CLEAN AND UNFOLDED BALLAST IS THE BLOOD OF THE RAIL- TRACK”;

“THE GEOMETRICAL PERFECT PRODUCTION OF WELDED RAIL- JOINTS AND THE CORRECT ALIGNMENT OF THE RAILS ARE ESSENTIAL PARAMETERS FOR THE DURABILITY OF WELDED JOINTS”;

”TRACK QUALITY IS NO LUXURY”;

”A LOWER QUALITY TRACK DETERIORATES FASTER THAN A HIGHER QUALITY TRACK AND IS THEREFORE BY FAR MORE COSTLY TO MAINTAIN”;

“A POOR QUALITY TRACK NEEDS MAINTENANCE NEARLY AS EVERY TRAIN GOES”;

“ONE HAS TO MANAGE AND OPTIMIZE EFFECTIVELY THE ALL-IMPORTANT WHEEL – RAIL SYSTEM”;

“WITHOUT SOUND AND HEALTHY RAIL-TRACKS OF HIGH QUALITY, MATCHING THE TRAFFIC-LOAD/VOLUME/SPEED, MODERN RAILWAY SERVICE WITH CLOSE-TO-ZERO MORTALITY RATE IS NOT POSSIBLE!!!”

To read more download the Technical Paper:FUNDAMENTALS OF RAIL-TRACK ENGINEERING_ QUOTATIONS

LEVERAGING DEVELOPMENTS IN MONITORING TECHNOLOGY HELP TO ACHIEVE SOUND AND HEALTHY RAIL-TRACKS FOR A MODERN “WORLD-CLASS” RAIL-SERVICE

The envisaged “WORLD CLASS” Rail-Service in India needs modern sound and healthy, high quality Rail-Tracks of “WORLD-CLASS STANDARDS”.

The spate of train derailments in India is an index for the actual poor track-condition and quality of the network and an index of how un-healthy many tracks are.

Modern Monitoring Technologies help to make predictions on the Longevity of Rail Tracks, to determine the Threshold for Intervention and to evolve a Network-Status Report on the Health of all Rail-Routes as a tool for long-term Investment Planning and Strategy and as a basis for the leadership in making decisions. A Network Status Report encompassing all routes will help the leadership to understand what ails Indian Railways, what the residues to deal with are and what the backlogs to be caught up are.

Modern Monitoring Technology helps to visualize the track to understand, when and where Maintenance and Renewal are required.

Modern Monitoring Technology helps to gather Track Quality Indexes for Predictive Maintenance.

RAIL track laser 3D video measurement and mapping system mounted on scheduled running passenger trains gather regularly GPS-positioned accurate, up-to-date rail-track, infrastructure and analysis data, without disrupting the service.

Drone surveying and post data processing techniques help to capture location data for planning and intervention.

Sensors making use of Newton`s Law Mechanism, installed on board of scheduled running trains, have become a tool for Monitoring Track-Conditions to develop Strategies and Plans for Predictive Maintenance- and Renewal-Intervention.

The modern leveraging Rail-Network Condition Monitoring Technologies produce “Big Data”. Big Data is the new oil. But just like crude oil it is valuable, and unrefined it cannot be really use”. “Big Data Crunching” should not be a constraint in the “High IT Country” India in converting the gathered large volume of data efficiently in information for rail-track engineering as well for track and infrastructure maintenance/renewal strategies, planning and organization. Accurate up-to-date information help to make informed decisions related to investments and operations. Data services help to deliver improved efficiencies in asset management and engineering. They bring the railway onto the engineer`s desktop enabling to analyse and extract leveraging and actionable information quickly and efficiently.

 The ANNEXURE covers comments on the papers presented on the last IPWE International Technical Seminar held February 2018 at Guwahati, India.

For more information download: LEVERAGING DEVELOPMENTS, UPDATES, PDF

 Download Powerpoint Presentation: PPT

THE ULTIMATE GOAL TO PREVENT FATAL TRAIN-ACCIDENTS IN INDIA – VISION: “CLOSE-TO ZERO” –

The application of “leveraging Developments in Monitoring Technology for optimizing Track, Bridge, Cutting and Tunnel Maintenance” should pay off with tangible impacts for the “Ultimate Goal to prevent Railway Accidents” in reducing the risk of train-passengers “Close-to-Zero” to be caught up in fatal, nasty and unwanted Train-Accidents on account of track, bridge, cutting- and tunnel defects.

 A profound strategy for condition based PREVENTIVE TRACK-MAINTENANCE, -OVERHAUL and -RENEWAL will not only ensure the longest life from the track at the lowed possible overall Life-Cycle-Costs, but will also help to ensure CLOSE-TO-ZERO” FATAL DERAILMENT DISASTERS.

This requires maintenance intervention and track renewal before a track deteriorates to a point below a minimum condition threshold. This implies that the condition of the track must be determined on a regular basis through Inspection, Measuring and Recording. This implies also that Intervention-Threshold Levels are set.

Measuring the condition of assets and infrastructure (tracks, cuttings, bridges, tunnels) manually by surveying gangs is time-consuming, cost-intensive and not accurate enough for any modern rail-route today, and in addition it is unsafe for the patrolling men.

To read more about, what plagues Indian Railways and what actions have to be taken in order to come to “CLOSE-TO-ZERO” Train Accidents, download:VISION CLOSE TO ZERO PDF

MATARA-BELIATTA RAILWAY EXTENSION PROJECT; Sri Lanka PART II; update January 2018

The Government of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Transport have entrusted the construction of the Matara to Beliatta Phase I railway extension to China Machinery Corporation (CMC).

The difficult topography and geology of the terrain is challenging. The rail-extension will consist of twelve bridges, and two tunnels. Railway stations will be set up at Babrenda, Kekanadura, Wewurukannala and Beliatta The alignment is kept without any tight horizontal and vertical curves, gradients, and it will come nearly level-crossing free.

It will take probably another 3-5 years to finalize this high costly and prestigious project. Still the earth filling for the Beliatta Railway Station and marshalling yard is not completed. Several new high earth-fillings are yet not properly settled. Such high fillings with local available soil will need at least 4 years to settle. It is questionable if the high fillings on marshy subsoil without inside state-to-the-art Geo-Mesh/Grid (Steel or Geotextile) elements for stabilization to prevent yielding will have the appropriate yielding stability, bearing capacity and support modulus for the later to be laid track and Railway Stations in progress. The formation should have a support modulus of at least 20 MPa/m².

Problematical could be also the stiffness transitions (abrupt change of the vertical stiffness) between soft embankment strata and hard open-deck concrete bridges at the numerous abutments.

The costly 26 km rail-extension project might come finally to at least 25-30 Million US Dollar per kilometer track-route (overall Project Costs of about 500 to 600 mio. US $), and it will become a big financial burden for the country.

The author inspected the ongoing works in June 2016, June 2017 and January 2018. In the period of the last 5 month not much progress had been visible.

For a track-laying opening ceremony with the State Minister for State Enterprise Minister, Mr. Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena on January 12h, 2018, some already corroded Chinese 25 m long UIC 60 E1 rails have been carried from the Hambantota storage yard and laid temporarily between Matara and the Nilwala Ganga Bridge without weld-connections on India manufactured concrete sleepers marked with the SLR stamp, and with Indian shoulder plates for UIC60 rails, clipped to the  rails with Indian Mark III ERC Clips, but inserted with the ERC-Leg in the Shoulder-Plate housing provisionally by Chinese workmen in the wrong direction, so that the needed clamping force, to hold the rails properly, is not reached, and this on an unfinished formation without the required 1 in 20 slope for draining the water off under the already laid Sub-Ballast, without sufficient Sub-Ballast thickness, without sufficient Ballast-Cushion thickness and without Ballast-Shoulders. On this trace already once under President R. Premadasa (President from 1989 until 1993) a rail-track had been laid up to the Nilwala bridge for political demonstration.

Sri Lankan Minister for State Enterprise Development Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said during the tracklaying ceremony on Friday 12.01.18. that the Island Nation was hoping to “finish the first phase of the project in the coming months”, which would benefit the public and tourists.

The current state of affairs in January 2018 is delineated in the downloadable  updated PICTURE GALLERY. In January 2018 the author got the impression that the work at several places has come close to a standstill and that it will take another 3 to 5 years until a train-service can be provided up to Beliatta.

.To read more, download:Matara-Beliatta Rail Extension Project, Part II, January 2018 PDF