D-RAIL focussus on freight traffic. The project will study how independent minor faults (like a slight track twist and a failing bearing) could combine to cause derailment.
D-RAIL will focus on freight traffic, identifying root causes of derailment of particular significance to freight vehicles, which have a wider range of operating parameters (as a result of the huge range in loads, speeds and maintenance quality) than passenger vehicles. One key question that will be studied is how independent minor faults (e.g., a slight track twist and a failing bearing) could combine to cause a derailment. D-RAIL will extend this study to include the expected demands on the rail freight system forecast for 2050, such as heavier axle loads, faster freight vehicle speeds for time-sensitive low volume high value high speed services (LVHVHS) goods, radically new vehicle designs, or longer train consists. A set of alarm limits will be specified which can be selected as appropriate by infrastructure managers, depending on local conditions.
In tandem with the above analysis, current monitoring systems (both wayside and vehicle-mounted) and developing technologies will be assessed with respect to their ability to identify developing faults and potential dangers. Where current systems are shown to be deficient, the requirements for future monitoring systems will be specified. D-RAIL will also examine vehicle identification technologies, such as the standards- and interoperability-focussed RFID system being implemented by GS1 and Trafikverket.</p
Integration of alarm limits, monitoring systems and vehicles across national borders and network boundaries will be examined and a deployment plan set out based on RAMS and LCC analyses. Procedures for applying speed limits to faulty vehicles, or taking them out of service, will be set out; this will include communication with the parties responsible for the transport of the freight and for maintenance of the vehicle. This will input to standards, regulations and international contracts.
For field testing and validation, D-RAIL will have access to VUZs test track in the Czech Republic.
Reducing the occurrences and impacts of freight train derailments
Preventing train derailments is crucial to improving the European rail system. An EU initiative developed new monitoring and mitigation systems and investigated the integration of the existing ones, providing also recommendations and guidelines as input for new EU standards and regulation.
European railways suffered over 600 freight train derailments costing over EUR 200 million per year, in the decade prior to 2013. Preventing derailments would lead to large improvements in European rail services. However, their causes must first be known.
With this in mind, the EU-funded http://www.d-rail-project.eu/ (D-RAIL) (Development of the future rail freight system to reduce the occurrences and impact of derailment) project sought to prevent derailments and mitigate their impacts.
Work began with a review of recent derailments, their causes and likely indicators. It included the economic and social effects of derailments as well as the needs of the European rail market as it approaches 2050, and considered technologies emerging in that timeframe which could be of benefit in preventing derailments and mitigating their impacts.
A cost-benefit analysis was performed to determine the economic effects of carrying out various supervision and mitigation measures. Another analysis dealt with the causes, consequences and potential prevention measures of derailments. It also identified and assessed key factors in derailment. The analysis led to cost-effective solutions to minimise or eliminate derailment and deliver enhanced safety levels.
Project partners studied existing inspection and monitoring techniques on prevention and mitigation. Monitoring techniques and safety measures were tested, and novel innovative technologies were demonstrated and validated for both track and freight vehicles. The team also looked at how to integrate the existing and emerging monitoring and mitigation systems throughout the rail system.
D-RAIL technical and economic assessments demonstrated that freight train derailments across Europe and their associated costs can be reduced by 8-12 % and 10-20 %, respectively. This will benefit both rail stakeholders and European society. Furthermore, the project will help promote the attractiveness of rail freight and mitigate the potential negative environmental impact.