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

LEVERAGING DEVELOPMENTS IN MONITORING TECHNOLOGY FOR OPTIMISING TRACK MAINTENANCE – Switch Monitoring and Diagnostic Systems

Switches (turnouts/points) and crossings are vulnerable nerve centres of railway infrastructure and are main cost-drivers. Their maintenance is highly costly for the infrastructure management. Switch-defects, -failures and train-derailments, on account of defective switches, disturb the traffic flow in a high extend. Switch and turnout machine failures account for a large proportion of infrastructure related delays and unplanned maintenances.

Fixed Infrastructure Asset Monitoring enables tracing defects in turnouts. This will be done by means of intelligent software. Thanks to the comparison of actual and reference values the software can detect imminent failures even before a malfunction occurs. Depending of these values/data maintenance messages will be generated and send to the competent authorities automatically. Thus failures can be avoided by means of PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE.

To read more, download:SWITCH MONITORING AND DIAGNOSTIC PDF

LEVERAGING STATUS-REPORT/AUDIT ON TRACK-CONDITION OF THE WHOLE NETWORK OF INDIAN RAILWAYS – A TOOL FOR LONGTERM CAPITAL INVESTMENT-SCHEMES AND MAINTENANCE- STRATEGIES

On the journey towards the future, Indian`s political leadership embraces the transformation of Indian Railways to a WORLD CLASS STANDART RAILWAY. The objectives are modern Railway Stations, smart Ticketing Systems, refurbished Luxury Coach Interiors, Inter-City Speed-Up by Semi-High and High-Speed Trains on key corridors, a “Diamond Quadrilateral” of High-Speed Lines, Dedicated Freight Corridors, world class and eco-friendly Traction Technology, Asset Management, Digitisation, Processing of Big-Data; see agenda of the 2nd FUTURE RAIL INDIA SUMMIT, held 7-8th December 2017 at Sheraton, New Delhi: Fostering the futuristic Trends of National Railway Plan of Indian Railways:

The fundamentals of a railway are its rail-tracks. Without sound and healthy Rail-Tracks of WORLD CLASS STANDARD QUALITY the envisaged FUTURISTIC AND SMART INNOVATIONS will be pending without a proper fundamentals.

It is sad to find out that in the past so many train-passengers got killed or injured in nasty and unwanted Derailment-Disasters due to the fact, that in the past the Indian Government did not invest and did not organised enough in order to bring all rail-tracks in sound and healthy condition to match the increasing traffic load.

The recent spate of nasty and unwanted Derailment Disasters, killing and injuring Train-Passengers, reveal that on several routes the track-quality is far below WORLD CLASS STANDARDS and is not matching the increasing traffic load. Tracks deteriorate faster than they are maintained, rehabilitated or renewed. In this respect India is lacking behind other railways around the globe.

There is no Railway around the globe other than Indian Railways aiming to become modern, which is still executing such back-rooted tinkering works by composing Long Welded or Continuous Welded Rail-Tracks (LWR/CWR) with short 13 m rails poorly welded in the field by AT welding, which therefore are in need of joggle-fishplate bandages. In this respect India is unique around the globe. Such tracks are not sustainable. They need a high extravagancy in costly surveillance, frequent visual inspections and frequent patch repairs and maintenances, in order to keep the trains running.

Such LWR or CWR Rail-Tracks, composed with 13 rails and poor quality AT welds in need of joggle-fishplate bandages, need urgent re-railing with long milled and flash-butt welded rails of high steel quality.

A poor or low quality rail track needs more frequent surveillance than a high quality track. To keep trains running on a lower or poor quality track is not only more risky but also more cost intensive.

Monitored, detected and documented track irregularities/defects/shortcomings must result in appropriate rectifying actions.

India wants to go for High-Speed Trains. However, High-Speed Technology is a highly expensive short-cut way to move passengers faster and safer between the main cities Delhi, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai, than on the conventional ailing rail-tracks.

Several India`s rail-roads age and deteriorate under the increasing traffic load faster than they could be maintained, rehabilitated, upgraded or renewed. To bring all rail-tracks of the network in a healthy and sound condition, ensuring nearly zero train-derailments, will need high capital investment schemes of long-term certainty. The political leadership embracing global trends should also be aware, how much money will be needed in the forthcoming period of 5 to 15 years and what has to be organised to bring all rail-tracks of the network on WORLD CLASS STANDARDS under the Close-To-Zero Derailment Vision.

A comprehensive upgrade of the whole system will need a huge amount of money and structural reforms, and it will take several decades to achieve. Therefore, news about Indian train accidents are not likely to fade soon away.

Modern Railways elaborate a Status-Report or Audit on the condition/status of their 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 infrastructure, and as well for maintenance-planning or strategies. Such a Status-Report or Audit could help India to gain information about how sound, healthy and excellent the system is and behaves – or how un-healthy the system is and behaves – and how much money for long-term investment-schemes will be needed in the forthcoming years and what has to be organised in order to bring WORLD CLASS STANDARDS on all tracks of the network.

The ANNEXURES I–III inform about modern Rail-Track Inspection/Monitoring/Scanning-, Mapping-, Visualization- and Track-Condition Data-Collection Systems.

For more information download:STATUS-REPORT-AUDIT ON TRACK-CONDITION.pdf

GUIDELINES FOR IMPROVING INDIA`S RAIL-ROADS TO ENSURE “CLOSE-TO-ZERO” FATAL DERAILMENT DISASTERS, AND FOR NEARLY ACCIDENT FREE RAIL-TRAVEL

PREFACE:

It can never be ethically acceptable that people are killed or seriously injured when moving within a transport system!

Rail-Track Engineering and Technology is not difficult to understand. However, it is difficult to make it comprehensible for Politicians, Decision-Bearers and Upper Echelons how a rail-track behaves under traffic load and what can be done in order to reduce the risks of Derailment-Disasters killing and injuring train passengers (“risk” is the product of probability of a bad incident to occur, the impact it has and the harm it produces).

Indian leadership wants to give Indian Railways the semblance of a world-class technology driven organization. But Trains derail on poor quality and rapid aging rail-tracks not matching the increasing traffic load, killing and injuring train-passengers.

SUMMARY:

Indian Railways show two faces, a “brilliant” and an “ugly” face. With the “brilliant” face IR can look on outstanding engineering results with new Railway Lines, Gauge-Conversion Projects, Bridge and Tunnel Constructions and with Introduction of new comfortable and faster running Trains. With the “ugly” face IR look on the spate of unwanted and nasty Train Derailment-Disasters killing and injuring Train-Passengers, on account of not optimized Wheel-Rail Systems, rapid aging rail-tracks and on account of Track-Quality not matching the increased traffic load/volume.

India is ready to go for High-Speed Train-Services, but is not in a position to keep all its rail-roads in sound and healthy condition by proper repair, maintenance, enhancement, rehabilitation and renewal for “Close-To-ZERO” Derailment Risks ensuring nearly Accident free Rail-Travel. Several routes age faster than they can be rehabilitated or renewed.

 People want to use a safe railway. Rail-tracks are an area presenting a great opportunity to achieve safety benefits. It is the obligation of the Indian Government to provide rail-tracks assuring close-to-zero fatal derailment-disasters and ensuring accident free rail-travel.

A railway-organization is only as good as the condition of its track-infrastructure. Therefore, it is in its original interest to optimize it and to keep it always on a high quality standard, which serves both the interests of its customers and business as well the operational safety.

World countries, whose economy can afford 300 kmph high-speed train services, have faced in the past decade ZERO killed or injured train-passenger due to a Derailment on account of an in-service failure of rail-tracks. They maintain, rehabilitate and renew all rail-roads in order to keep them in sound and healthy condition, fit for the traffic load/volume they have to carry.

It is not possible to achieve a HIGH QUALITY rail-track with short 13 m Indian rails with AT welds requiring to be bandaged with joggle-fishplates.

An underlying factor for the spate of fatal Derailment-Disasters in India, killing and injuring train passengers, are the aging long-welded (LWR) and continuous-welded (CWR) rail-panels consisting of poorly AT welded 13 meter short rails of sometimes inferior steel-alloy quality, needed to be bandaged with joggle-fishplates. Those panels age faster than they can be replaced or renewed by long milled rails of high steel-alloy quality welded by modern robotic flash-butt welding methodology. It needs long-term strategies and high capital investment schemes to renew the aging LWR/CRW tracks.

To bring the quality of all rail-roads in India in compliance with the increased traffic load/volume, massive capital investment schemes of long-term certainty in Safety related infrastructure-works, especially in high quality of rail-tracks on all routes, are needed. And “long-term” in Railways means really long, covering a period of 5 to 15 years ahead for planning, organisation, logistics and procurement. Enough skilled and well trained manpower, materials, tools, Monitoring Technology and Heavy-Duty and High- Performance On-Track Machineries are needed. High track quality means low track deterioration rate resp. slow aging under given traffic load/volume and hence low overall life cycle maintenance costs.

The lower the Track-Quality, the more frequent Track-Inspections and Monitoring are appropriate. A low Quality Track deteriorates faster than a high Quality Track and hence needs more maintenance expenditures causing higher costs.

Strong commitment and skillful execution of all people involved from the top to the bottom are prerequisites of paramount importance in order to reach the ultimate goal of “Close-To-Zero Fatal Train Accidents” by improving all India`s Rail-Roads up-to world class standards.

 One Indian expert has quoted: “The problem in India is not of safety standards but the execution of standards.”

To read more download: GUIDELINES FOR IMPROVING

OPTIMISING THE ALL-IMPORTANT WHEEL-RAIL SYSTEM, ASSURING NEARLY ZERO DERAILMENTS

The all-important WHEEL-RAIL SYSTEM matters! A Railway with optimised Wheel-Rail System will face NO DERAILMENT-DISASTER, killing and injuring Train-Passengers. European Railways follow the conception of OPTIMISING THE WHEEL-RAIL SYSTEM, and they keep the Wheels of rolling stocks and Rails in sound and healthy condition. With well-maintained Wheels on Modern Railway Tracks the likelihood of Derailments will be nearly ZERO.

To read more, download:OPTIMISING THE ALL-IMPORTANT WHEEL-RAIL SYSTEM PDF

GLOBAL TRENDS IN RAILWAY TRACK TECHNOLOGIES, PART II – under the Light of WHAT MAKES INDIAN RAILWAYS SO UNSAFE AND UNECONOMICAL?

Résumé: To operate a railway safely and to keep it in a healthy condition constant input in maintenance and renewal is needed. India falls short in keeping the Quality of its rail-tracks fit for the traffic load/volume the tracks have to carry. This is one of the underlying factors/conditions for the unsafe and uneconomical operation of Indian Railways. Train-Passengers are killed and injured in nasty and unwanted bad events.

With modern highly powered three phase AC asynchronous Traction/Slip-Control Technology (high accelerating and decelerating/breaking forces) the problems of Rail Contact Fatigues (RCF), resulting in rail surface defects like Head-Checks, Squats, Studs, Spallings and Roughness, are on increase.

Rail surface defects have to be eliminated by preventive Rail-Grinding in an early state. If one let the defects to grow too deep, rails might fracture resulting in fatal Derailment-Disasters, killing and injuring train-passengers.

In order to keep Railway Tracks in a sound and healthy condition, assuring nearly Zero Derailments, Railway Tracks must be available for well planned CONDITION BASED and PROACTIVE MAINTENANCE and RENWEAL through modern Railway Track Engineering and Technologies. Digital tools will help to achieve this perspective.

To read more, download :GLOBAL TRENDS, PART II

MATARA-BELIATTA RAILWAY EXTENSION PROJECT Sri Lanka

The Government of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Transport have entrusted the construction of the Matara to Beliatta Phase I extension to China Machinery Corporation (CMC) of China. The China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation is instrumental in the construction work of the railway line.

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 setup at Babrenda, Kekanadura and Wewrukannala. 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 4-6 years to finalise this high costly and prestigious project. Still the earth filling for the Beliatta Railway Station and marshalling yard is not completed. 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 to be build Railway Stations. 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.

To read more, download:Matara-Beliatta Railway Extension Project

GLOBAL TRENDS IN TRACK TECHNOLOGIES AND FAST PACED CONSTRUCTION

The Institution of Permanent Way Engineers (India) has called for papers for the forthcoming International Technical Seminar of I.P.W.E. (India) with the Topic Global Trends in Track Technologies and Fast Paced Construction, held 20th July, 2017, Venue: Plenary Hall, Vigyan Bhawan, Maulana Azad Road, New Delhi-110003.   Presentations by foreign Experts, Consultants, the Trade, Industry and other stake holders have been welcomed.

The following Technical Railway Paper is a contribution for the discussion.

The global trend in Rail Track Technology is governed and ruled by Overall Life-Cycle Costs Considerations. The demand is to bring Initial High Track Quality on the Rail Roads. World Class Designs, Specification and Standards for High Track Quality are already well known amongst Indian Track Engineering Experts.

Track Quality starts with well bearing Substructure Constituents and with Drainage. A Track is as good as what is underneath and how Water can be taken out and kept away from the Track Bed.

High Track Quality is achieved through the deployment of Heavy-Duty On-Track Machinery. In the last decade many Innovations in Heavy-Duty Track Machineries have been achieved, as revealed at the last International Exhibition iaf, held at Münster, Germany, May 30th to June 01st 2017. Together with Mr. J.S. Mundrey the author had the privilege to attend this top class event.

Many Railways make nowadays use of the benefits of Elastic Under-Sleeper Pads laced on the sole of Concrete Sleepers. The “fit-and-forget” Pandrol Fast-Clip System is superseding worldwide the Pandrol-Type Elastic Rail Fastenings.

Long milled and factory Flash-Butt welded long Rail Panels of High Steel Quality  are prerequisites for higher Speed and make Ultrasonic Testing on Rail Tracks superfluous. In-service failures of Rail Welds can be reduced by robotic Flash-But Welding of long Rail Panels at site. Well supervised proper handling, loading, transport and unloading are essential.

Fiber reinforced Foamed Polyurethane (FFU) has become on several Railways an innovative substitute for timber, where the elastic properties, easy processing and lower weight of Wooden Sleepers are still needed as on bridges, on stiffness-transitions and for tailor made Switches and Crossings.

Turnouts/Switches are the main cost-drivers. The Manufacturer Shwihag and Vossloh are the front-runners in innovative Turnout/Switch Technology resulting in lower maintenance costs.

Friction Management on curvatures include Rail-Profiling achieved by Target Rail Grinding and running Rail Corner Lubrication and/or Top-of-Rail Lubrication.

The Life-Span of Rails is increased by preventive Rail Grinding. With high tractive force Traction through three phase asynchronous AC traction-motors (IGTB Technology) Rail Head-Check Problems are on increase. In order to prevent the growth of rail-surface defects to become cracks in the rails, the global trend is to grind as a counter-measurement the rails in intervals (Preventive Grinding) with Heavy-Duty On-Track Machinery.

Modern Railways prepare a Status Report of the Conditions of their full network with regard to their assets behavior in order to provide correlations with output quantities and the required financial recourses for reinvestment of assets and infrastructure and in maintenance. Such an audit informs how healthy and excellent the system is and behaves.

Modern Railways shift from reactive to proactive Track Maintenance Strategies under Overall Life-Cycle Costs Considerations making use of Train based in-Service Monitoring for Target Planning of Maintenance.

Condition Monitoring, predictive Maintenance Strategies, Target Planning of Maintenance and proactive Maintenance are changing the way in which increasingly busy modern Railways are managed around the globe. With more Sensors fitted to both rolling stocks and infrastructure assets, the key challenge is turning the data into insights, that will support improved reliability and availability.

To read more download: GLOBAL TRENDS IN TRACK TECHNOLOGIES

SOME DEMANDS FOR A MIXED TRAFFIC SCHEME WITH HIGHER AXLE-LOAD FREIGHT-TRAINS PLUS SEMI HIGH-SPEED PASSENGER-TRAINS IN INDIA

“Challenges in Design and Maintenance of Track under Mixed Traffic Regime of Semi High-Speed and heavy Axle-Load

had been the topic of the International Technical IPWE Seminar held 12th & 13th January 2017 at Mumbai. The topic is an appeal to the ingenuity and skills of Indian Track Engineers and Experts to make tracks fit to match with the increasing strain and stress exerted by an increased Axle-Load of Freight-Trains up to 25 t running under a mixed Traffic Scheme on the same route together with Passenger-Trains of different Speed-Profiles, of 80 to 110 kmph speed-band and of 130 to 160 kmph speed-band, latter for so-called “Semi High-Speed Trains”.

For such a “Mixed Traffic Scheme” the additional demands on Track & Rolling Stock Technologies, Logistics, Infrastructures, Assets, Signalling Systems, Maintenance-Strategies and on Certainty for Long-Term Capital Investment-Schemes are exorbitant high.

On its network, Indian Railways have a huge backlog in maintenance and safety related rectifying works.

The possibilities and methods to increase the freight transport capacity and to shorten the journey time for train-passengers in the Axle-Load Range of 16 to 21.5 t and in the Speed Band of 80 to 130 kmph are not completely outbidden yet.

Considering the fact

that under the constraints of capital investments, allocated funds, financial recourses and under logistic/organizational bottlenecks, Indian Railways have to struggle hard to keep its rail network in sound condition in order to keep low the number of killed and injured train-passengers in unwanted nasty Derailment-Disasters (since 2014 on increase) due to in-service failures of Rolling Stocks, Tracks and Infrastructures,

  • see Technical Papers HOW MUCH SAFETY ON INDIAN RAILWAYS, PART I, II & III and INDIAN RAILWAYS ON A RISKY COURSE, free for download from the website: http://www.drwingler.com <>

it might be more prudent first of all to increase the transport- and route-capacity and to shorten the station to station journey time by upgrading and enhancement of Traffic Management, Logistics, Infrastructures, Assets, Track-Layouts, by deployment of modern state-of-the-art Signalling Systems with Automatic Train Protection and by deployment of faster accelerating and track friendlier Light Weight Multiple Unites –  without increasing the Axle-Load for Freight Trains and introducing additional “Semi High-Speed” Trains.

 

To know more, download:
Demands for Mixed Traffic Scheme

 

 

BALLAST, FORMATION AND DRAINAGE; Part I & II

This technical paper is a revision of the Chapter 8 Draft of J.S. Mundrey for the forthcoming 5 th edition RAILWAY TRACK ENGINEERING with modifications and amendments by Dr. F.A. Wingler.

A Railway Track needs to be addressed in its entirety rather by only its individual constituents.

The technical paper deals in Part I with the Load Transfer in Track, with Ballast, Sub- Ballast Blanket Layer, Formation, Substructure and Drainage and delineates and  illustrates in Part II Track-, Hill &  Cutting Slope-Drainage- Systems.

Cuttings are injury to the nature and disturb the natural water-flow. And if not appropriately protected and secured, nature will take revenge with Hill-, Mud- or Rock-Slides. This can cause nasty railway accidents.

Ballast is the “Blood of the Rail Track” and Water is the “Enemy of the Rail Track”. Without a stable, well bearing and well drained Sub-Ballast, Formation, Sub-Grade and Sub-Soil  there will be no stable Rail Track.

Initial High Quality of all interactive Track-Constituents in their entirety result in low Deterioration Rates under given traffic load, and hence initial High Track Quality cuts overall Life Cycle Costs. Quality is no Luxury. Capital Investment in High Quality pays off over the Life Cycle.

To read more, download

BALLAST-FORMATION-AND-DRAINAGE revised