The rectangular embedded rail system: could it work in the unique Australian rail environment?

This paper examines the key features of the “Rectangular Embedded Rail System” (known by the initials ERT) and then considers the main challenges to be addressed to the introduction of the system into Australia. The five main challenges appear to be: 1. The system represents such a fundamental change to current trackform solutions that it requires a culture change in the rail mindset. It takes people out of their historical and risk averse comfort zones. 2. The European view that significant whole of life cost savings can be achieved by the system has not yet been “tested” in the Australian market. 3. There is a fundamental issue of “disbelief” that non-ballasted systems can be constructed at equal or lower cost to ballasted track. 4. A transition from the current product licence ownership to a more accessible arrangement for the Australian market needs to be completed. 5. The Rail Industry in Australia is relatively fragmented in comparison with Europe and this discourages innovation to some extent. Stronger linkages between Rail Industry Bodies and Research Institutions will assist this process. Balfour Beatty Rail (UK) has over the past 10 years developed a track system conceived by Charles Penny, their Engineering and Development Director. The ERT system makes a step change in the conventional approach to design, construction and maintenance of the railway system. Short test sections of this embedded rail system have been constructed and are now in use in the UK and Spain; and the system is fully accredited by Network Rail (UK) and the German Railway Authorities. However, since 2012, Balfour Beatty has been financially constrained and unable to further invest in construction of the system. During a visit earlier this year Charles explored opportunities for its implementation in Australia. Arup supported that visit and also carried out a detailed and critical technical review of the system to check the engineering rationale.

Media Info

  • Pagination: 9p. ; PDF
  • Monograph Title: AusRAIL PLUS 2015, doing it smarter. People, power, performance, 24-26 November 2015, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01601954
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Jun 17 2016 9:46AM