Technologies currently applied in international railway freight transport through border crossings, where track gauge changes from 1435 mm to 1520 mm, require time- and work-consuming reloading procedures and very expensive reloading appliances. The new INTERGAUGE technology using rolling stock with adjustable wheel sets is considerably safer and more efficient than the methods currently in use, especially for the transport of dangerous materials - gas and petroleum - which are easily damaged while reloading, and of goods that are hazardous to the environment.
There is a need for a transportation method for such goods, which has been expressed at international meetings with railway companies. The project involved research on technological advances and integration with regard to the interoperability of freight transport. It increased the possibility for a shift from road to rail of some of the transport of dangerous goods.
The main objective of the INTERGAUGE project was to develop new freight movement technologies, enabling the interoperability of transport between railways with different gauge widths, using tank bogie car with gauge adjustable wheel set SUW-200 II working at higher capacity and higher speed, as well as automatic new generation track gauge changing station. The new transport technology allows limiting time required for the trains or groups of cars to move through a border crossing with gauge changing station as well to minimise environmental hazards, especially with regard to dangerous products.
INTERGAUGE is a system consisting of three subsections:
1) switching station operation technology and theoretical track layouts for gauge switching stations;
2) rail vehicle with a bogie equipped with automatic gauge adjustable wheel sets for 1435/1520 mm railways with increased axle load to 225 kN and adopted to speed 120 km/h;
3) track gauge switching station (TSP) with automation appliances to automate operation and monitor the switching process.
The INTERGAUGE technology enables reduction of the total time of the transfer of hazardous cargoes through border stations with track gauge change for entire trains at about 70%, and for groups of cars at about 40%.
Following components of the new technology were developed and verified:
- A tank-car documentation with prototype of bogies equipped with wheel sets having gauge-change wheels of the SUW 2000 II system;
- A new generation track gauge-change facility prototype equipped with electronic diagnostic system;
- Scope of adjustments of the existing border station infrastructure where railways with different track gauges meet each other (track gauge-change facility that makes application of the new technology possible);
- Organisation and technology of work of the border crossing station on which track gauge-change facility is located.
Based on the existing station systems on the Ukrainian-Polish border, the following possible locations of track gauge-change facility on stations were determined where railways with different track gauges have their interfaces:
- two TSP on each side of the border on tracks where trains (groups of cars) are taken over from the partner railway,
- single TSP on one side of the border depending on agreement between railways involved concerning trains (groups of cars) taking over from partner railway and trains dispatching to another partner railway.
Track system in close vicinity of TSP-4 can be solved as:
- one-way system enabling rolling stock runs in order to change track gauge along TSP;
- two-way system enabling rolling stock runs in order to change track gauge with use of pull-out track.
Capacity of track systems in close vicinity of TSP-4 amounts to 14-16 trains (groups of cars) daily in both directions that represents 17 per cent of total capacity of railway lines going to the state border. It means a single track gauge-change facility can provide service of three passenger trains, three freight trains (32 cars each) and 10 freight car groups (5 car each) assuming two-way traffic operation. This ensures transport of freights suitable for the technology amounting to 4 million to yearly in both directions (at present freight traffic by railway mode passing through all rail border crossings accounts for about 11.5 million tonnes yearly).
Technological process of pass a train (32 cars) through border station using the SUW 2000 II system (32 cars) through border station developed within the framework of the INTERGAUGE project through track gauge-change facility requires 240 min in comparison to 1320 min according to technological systems operated nowadays.
The Dorohusk station track system was adapted to requirements of the INTERGAUGE project in accordance with the above-mentioned principles. All components of the new technology developed in the INTERFGAUGE project were examined and verified during tests carried out on Dorohusk station. On 6 June 2008 final demonstration and seminar on which contractors of the project presented results its execution was held at the Dorohusk station with participation of representatives of Polish and Ukrainian ministries, railway administrations, transport companies, scientific institutions and the press.
The tank-car with prototype of new bogies type 7RS/N fulfills parameters accepted to the project (axle load 225 kN, speed of run 120 km/h, tare weight coefficient 0.28 and technical availability factor 0.92-0.95). One can consider design of a new generation bogie equipped with wheel sets having gauge-change wheels can be claimed as outstanding achievement to be applied under various types of freight car bodies. The bogie passed a set of strength tests on test stands and trial runs. The Railway Rolling Stock Repairing Works in Poznan - a member of the INTERGAUGE consortium - is owner of design and technological documentation and manufacturer of the new bogie.
The new generation track gauge-change facility prototype (TSP-4) meets parameters assumed in the project (axle load of cars passing through the facility - 225 kN and increased durability by 35%) as well as it was equipped with the electronic diagnostic system ASDEK/ESD2. The system is stationary tool, unattended, making measurements of wheel sets of variable wheel shift, using point sensors of surface and force. Identification and measurement procedures start with the moment of shunt on the measurement basis of the station. State of the measurement process is displayed au courant on the display of the computer of the registering-measuring set and the terminal in the signal box. The possibilities of the set are in the following terms: wheel gauge and blocking mechanism disks assessment, wheel blocking correctness, axle load of running car measurement, possible work of the system with station traffic control equipment and recording of the parameters assessed. KOLTRAM - a member of the project consortium is owner of TSP-4 design and technological documentation, while ASDEK/ESD2 is owned by TENS - another member of the INTERGAUGE project consortium.