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PROCEEDINGS OF THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON RAILWAY TECHNOLOGY: RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE
Edited by: J. Pombo
Design of a Cover Element for Slab Track Systems
A. Andreatta1, Y. Theiner1, J. Feix1, G. Hofstetter1, M. Kowalski2 and S. Knittel2
1Department of Civil Engineering, University of Innsbruck, Austria
A. Andreatta, Y. Theiner, J. Feix, G. Hofstetter, M. Kowalski, S. Knittel, "Design of a Cover Element for Slab Track Systems", in J. Pombo, (Editor), "Proceedings of the First International Conference on Railway Technology: Research, Development and Maintenance", Civil-Comp Press, Stirlingshire, UK, Paper 142, 2012. doi:10.4203/ccp.98.142
Keywords: slab track system, cover element, concrete, load arrangement, numerical simulation, experiments.
Today slab track systems in tunnels represent the standard solution as a result of their stability, durability and low maintenance features. In this context the drivability of such slab track systems gains more and more importance. First in the case of: emergency safety aspects, regarding escape, rescue, fire protection and fire fighting, have to be considered. Second with respect to maintenance and repair work the possibility of driving along the tracks with road vehicles may be required. Whereas in the case of emergency the drivability of the slab track system represents an accidental action, that in the course of maintenance work stands for a permanent action.
Up to now solutions for drivable slab track systems are rare. Moreover, the existing proposals exhibit several disadvantages, regarding function, economy and maintenance. Thus, the University of Innsbruck in collaboration with the RTE Technology GmbH started a research project, dealing with the development of a drivable slab track cover system.
In Germany, the Department for Railway Systems of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology defined general requirements, concerning the drivability of slab track systems . The current developments are based on this document. As neither in the document  nor in the European standard realistic load assumptions are available, tests were carried out at the University of Innsbruck, to determine realistic load arrangements.
The proposals for drivable slab track systems presented in this paper are only valid for one specific type of a slab track system, namely the "ÖBB-Porr". The research work conducted until now resulted in a concept consisting of two cover elements, a relatively small side element made of plain concrete, located on both sides of the rails and a much larger reinforced middle element, located between the rails in the middle of the track. Concerning the side element experimental and numerical investigations were carried out. The experimental as well as the numerical results show failure of the side element subjected to the design load by exceeding the tensile strength.
As the side elements have to be made of plain concrete for economic reasons, the further development of an improved geometry is based on an iterative optimization process, consisting of numerical simulations and experimental investigations. A new proposal for the geometry of the side element is presented. Furthermore investigations on the entire production and installation process of these elements will be carried out in order to determine an economic solution.