Alstom has launched life-cycle tests for its advanced concrete slab track technology in Russia. Russian Railways (RZD) initiated the tests on 15 November in their facilities in Sherbinka near Moscow. The project includes the assessment of various slab tracks and their testing in local conditions, with a view to potentially implementing this cutting-edge technology on the very high speed lines in the future.
Alstom in cooperation with Roszheldorproekt design institute, Vossloh, Pandrol/Railtech and LAFARGE Russia has built a 125-metre-long slab track section including 2 transition zones of 25 meters each, using its NBT technology. The main advantages of NBT are its mechanised construction method, as well as its high availability and compatibility with mixed traffic operation, passenger and freight.
During the first testing phase the Russian Railways research centre VNIIZhT will run a loaded train along the section at 80 km/h. The most stable and available slab track solutions will be proposed for the next testing phase on a longer section at high and very high speeds. It is expected that, by 2016, the tracks will be able to carry up to 600 million tonnes.
“The infrastructural solution we offer in Sherbinka can be an important contribution to the future modernisation of the railway network in Russia, not only for high speed and very high speed lines, but also for urban transport. Our NBT technology used in this project has already been proven effective thanks to a 1 km double-track section on the Gisors-Serqueux main line in France, in operation since December 2013,” said Thibault Desteract, Alstom Transport Senior Vice-President for CIS region.
Slab track is a modern solution, which may significantly decrease the lifecycle cost of the tracks, as it reduces maintenance costs by almost half, compared to the standard ballast tracks.