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Civil-Comp Proceedings
ISSN 1759-3433
CCP: 86
Edited by: B.H.V. Topping
Paper 52

Actions on Railway Tracks at Very High-Speeds

A. López Pita1, P.F. Teixeira2, C. Casas-Esplugas1, A. Bachiller1 and P. Afonso2

1Centre for Transport Innovation, Technical University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain
2Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal

Full Bibliographic Reference for this paper
, "Actions on Railway Tracks at Very High-Speeds", in B.H.V. Topping, (Editor), "Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering Computing", Civil-Comp Press, Stirlingshire, UK, Paper 52, 2007. doi:10.4203/ccp.86.52
Keywords: high-speed, vertical efforts, vertical and transversal accelerations.

The recent speed world record achieved by the French railways, of 574.8 km/h on the 3rd April 2007, has proved the potential of railways for running at very high speeds, at least on test runs. At the same time that speed records were achieved, commercial speed has been also been progressively raised up to 300 km per hour. The world record has shown what is technically possible during a test run. It has still to be shown if speeds of over 300 km/h are not only technically feasible for one test run but also for the long-term operation as maintenance and conservation tasks should be more accurate and the track-vehicle interaction efforts higher when travelling at very high speeds.

The new high speed line between Madrid and Barcelona that is currently being built requires running at speeds close to 350 km/h. This requirement comes from the fact that the final rail distance between the two cities will be 625 km and the travel time, due to commercial reasons, should be around 2 hours and 15 minutes.

In this context, the Spanish rail operators have acquired two series of new generation trains, the TALGO 350 and the ICE III, both allowing the previously mentioned top speed of 350 km per hour.

Within this paper the results obtained during the test and measurement campaign carried out with the TALGO 350 on the Madrid-Sevilla high speed line are presented. The speed range for the measurements was between 300 and 350 km/h. The parameters measured include the wheel load on the rails and the lateral forces on the track. At the same time, vertical and transversal accelerations were measured on the axle box and body.

The final part of the paper is devoted to an analysis of the financial feasibility of such a line from the maintenance point of view as the tolerance thresholds for running at speeds close to 350 km per hour are to be maintained.

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