The current interoperability approval process for new High Speed and Conventional railway vehicles in Europe is a very long and costly process. The European Railway Agency (ERA) is charged with the development of new and future Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs), which provide common regulations for the authorisation of placing into service new vehicles. TSIs will provide a safe and technical compatible railway system for Europe by specifying requirements for all the different relevant technical aspects. However, they will not directly eliminate the burdens that currently affect the railway industry and the railway undertakings regarding new vehicle approval on each European network.
TSIs are a set of common minimum requirements and therefore not optimal for each network administrator and/or railway undertaking. Placing in service a new vehicle, even if compliant with TSIs, still requires network approval by each National Safety Authority (NSA) responsible for the Member State in which the vehicle is to be operated.
In addition to the handicaps mentioned above, it is important to take into account the lack of compatibility of the national assessment methods. Therefore it is often requested by the Member States to repeat specific tests for homologation that are, as a matter of fact, analogous to those tests already performed in other countries. At present a full harmonisation of the assessment methods required does not exist although the evolution of new and expanded European standards is helping to close the gap.
The network approval of multi-system vehicles is a key subject that can and must be addressed in order to provide a competitive railway system within Europe. Therefore, the importance of DynoTRAIN, as it will contribute to the practical implementation of interoperability of railways systems across Europe by checking for inconsistencies and 'open points' in the existing acceptance criteria and by proposing revisions of acceptance criteria in European standards and resolutions to close relevant 'open points' in the TSI.
The overall goal was to promote interoperable rail traffic in Europe by reducing costs and time of certification and closing 'open points' in the TSI's. It will be achieved by the following high level objectives:
- Address HS & CR TSI's that effectively work to harmonise European and national standards on railway dynamics and track interaction to reduce costs and time of certification.
- Reduce costs and time of certification by replacing existing tests with new alternatives without reducing safety.
- Reduce costs of certification by introducing virtual testing as far as it can be validated for railway dynamics and track interaction. This will allow in the long term the use of more controlled testing conditions which will increase safety and enable more realistic conditions to be investigated, reducing uncertainty and thereby avoiding unnecessary and costly infrastructure measures.
- Close 'open points' in the HS and CR TSI's related to vehicle-track interaction: track geometry quality, in service conicity of wheel-rail contact and track load limits.
- Establish standardised conditions for derivation of results in relation with the variation in boundary conditions of existing infrastructures in different European countries, given that 95% of infrastructures do not comply with TSI's.
Technical objectives and expected results:
- To improve cross-acceptance of track tests:
Exchange about conditions used in different countries during on-track tests for authorisation of placing into service vehicles with the aim to define the tests that can be directly cross accepted, those that may stay specific to each country and the ones that must be completed either by tests or by simulation. The main blockers to cross acceptance are in service conicities and track qualities, both of this issues are open points in the HS and CR TSI's. DynoTRAIN will provide conclusions and recommendations for closing these open points.
- To introduce Virtual Certification (VC):
- to investigate the possibility to use computer simulations with vehicle models build on agreed way and validated by comparisons with specified tests, as an equivalent to substitute a part of on-track tests;
- to investigate how the use of computer simulations in a combined process of calculation and on-track testing could lead to significant savings of time and costs of the rolling stock certification process. DynoTRAIN will deliver a process for a standardised
On the basis of the requirements for the new CR TSI and revision of HS TSI, opportunities to reduce certification costs and where it is seen that virtual certification could be introduced it is decided to focus the study on the main aspects of rolling stock dynamics that are or need to be subject to certification.
The Work Programme of the project is organised around Work Packages:
- WP 1: Measurements of track geometry quality and virtual homologation;
- WP 2: Track geometry quality;
- WP 3: Contact geometry;
- WP 4: Track loading limits related to network access;
- WP 5: Model building and validation;
- WP 6: Virtual certification of modified vehicles and vehicles running in other conditions;
- WP 7: This is a quality assurance work package
Streamlining certification processes for rail vehicles
A cluster of railway interoperability-related projects, TRIO-TRAIN, has been established to advance innovations facilitating the approval of multisystem networks and routes in Europe. For its part, the Dynotrain project is working to enable a faster, cheaper and better certification process for all relevant stakeholders.
Certification of a rail vehicle greatly impacts vehicle cost and time to market, given that this must be carried out in accordance with European Standards (EN) and regulations, Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSI) and national safety rules. A major part of the certification process calls for performance and safety testing, and infrastructure compatibility.
Supported by EU funding and with a view to enhancing the competitiveness of rail traffic, the Dynotrain project aims to decrease costs of the mandatory course of action without reducing safety parameters. As such, the team is focused on identifying inconsistencies and open points in existing acceptance criteria so as to propose revisions of acceptance criteria in EN. They will also propose ways of closing relevant open points in the TSI.
Other project objectives include the introduction of virtual testing for reducing costs of certification, and establishing standardised conditions for deriving results. The undertaking is supported by 22 partners from 7 European countries with the overarching goal of realising the European rail industry's interoperability objectives.
To date, a large test campaign has been carried out in four countries with four test vehicles. In addition, partners have considered different methods for defining track quality in terms of vehicle reaction, and are progressing with the development of conicity maps. Rail profile data, supplementing track data, have also been provided and used for the calculation of conicity maps, on the basis of which in-service limit values for the TSIs will be recommended.
Furthermore, work has been completed on best industry practice for modelling vehicle behaviour, and discussions have commenced on how to assess if the model is validated. Progress has also been made in the area of virtual certification of modified vehicles and vehicles running in other conditions, while a study of national rules for vehicle acceptance has afforded important insights regarding barriers to cross acceptance.
Ongoing Dynotrain activities will contribute to the practical implementation and reduced costs of procedures that effectively advance the envisaged interoperability of railways systems across Europe.