Elastic railway track components in the Gotthard Base Tunnel are put to the test
Buers (AT), Erstfeld – Bodio (CH). Getzner has developed a special vibration protection measure to ensure passenger comfort and durability of the track in the world’s longest railway tunnel. Around 250 trains will soon travel along the 57 km tunnel every day at speeds of up to 250 km/h. The solution Getzner has designed for these types of loads will be showcased at InnoTrans, the leading rail transport trade fair, in Berlin this September.
250 trains travelling at speeds of up to 250 km/h (approximately ten trains per hour) will use the Gotthard Base Tunnel, which connects Swiss municipalities Erstfeld and Bodio. To guarantee high availability and a long service life for the railway superstructure despite the significant loads, Getzner Werkstoffe has been developing a special vibration protection measure over the last few years. After all, the demands for this project are particularly high: when the tunnel is in frequent use, ambient temperatures can reach up to 40°C and humidity can be as high as 70%. The high speeds of the trains also exert strong pressure and suction forces, which put the material under above-average stress. Elastic Sylodyn® bearings for the single block sleepers and high-speed turnouts have been installed in both tunnel tubes for the slab track and on sections of the approach routes. “Our solution brings elasticity into the slab track, and therefore wear of the superstructure components, minimising the maintenance required on the track. Passenger comfort is also significantly improved, as the highly elastic inserts ensure even deflection as the train passes over,” explains Juergen Rainalter, Chief Executive Officer of Getzner. Until the Gotthard Base Tunnel opens in June 2016, all the components will be subjected to real test loads in up to 5,000 planned trials.
This project imposed very high demands on the railway technology in the Gotthard Base Tunnel, because all the materials have to deliver excellent performance over the entire planned service life of the tunnel. “The outstanding properties of our materials (proven even in long-term tests), our technical expertise and our well-known references were what won over the client. We also had to guarantee the client high supply availability and the best possible quality for the entire duration of the project,” summarises Juergen Rainalter. The aim of the Gotthard Base Tunnel is to move transit traffic off the roads and onto the railway. Getzner, the vibration specialist from Vorarlberg, Austria, was on hand to provide support every step of the way.
At this year’s InnoTrans, the international trade fair for transport technology, which is being held from 20th to 23rd September in Berlin, Getzner will address the specific requirements of the high-speed turnouts and the elasticity for the slab track for the Gotthard Base Tunnel project in its technical presentations. The vibration protection specialist will also showcase its in-house developed vibration protection solutions, including sleeper pads, under ballast mats, mass-spring systems and solutions for turnouts and transitions.