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Investigation of a new track platform railway vehicle restraint system

Logotype Comunidad de Madrid and Unión Europea Restraint system

The main aim of this project is to generate new know-how in relation to train restraint systems, supplementary to track chocks, which will allow the present braking distance to be reduced significantly if a derailed train should roll on over the track platform. This will result in upgraded operating capacity and enhanced service quality for users.

To achieve this main aim, we have addressed the following specific objectives:

Endow the yards, coach sheds and link tunnels in the system with greater operating capacity
Reduce the times required for the auxiliary movement of rolling stock
Lower maintenance and operating costs

It has proved possible to achieve these aims through carrying out the following activities:

1. Investigation of the factors having an impact on the restraining process and basic design parameters.

This initial stage of the project starts off with a presentation of the problem to be solved: we examine the dynamics governing the behaviour of the vehicle and therefore what factors or parameters will determine braking capacity and, in general, both the dynamic and structural performance of the restraint systems and the actual vehicle.

2. Investigation and development of the restraint systems.

Investigation focused mainly on the discrete restraint system. This system consists of attaching certain elements to the track platform in a certain layout. Each one of these elements is able to absorb a large amount of energy when a train passes over them, so that the train can be braked in a short distance.

Different models of both dynamic and vertical behaviour are produced to assess and develop this kind of system:

On the one hand, using the percussion or collision theory, Simulink (Matlab) models of vertical train dynamics are programmed.
On the other hand, models of finite elements are produced in LS-Dyna (ANSYS) in ascending order of complexity which enable us to estimate or simulate the actual performance of the system and thereby ascertain the most appropriate design in an economic way.

Conjointly with the development of the discrete restraint system, a series of calculations are carried out to determine the maximum theoretical braking capacity by means of another restraint system concept, referred to as the continuous system. This system consists of a kind of platform that causes the train passing over it to sink and thereby lose energy in its forward movement.

3. Empirical validation of the design parameters of the restraint elements

For real-life verification of the above-mentioned calculations and simulation models, a series of tests are carried out to reproduce the conditions prevailing in a railway system operating in a different environment, the Leganés Technology Park: a railway track 100 metres long with a gradient of approximately 9 metres that terminates in a platform, where the restraint system to be tested is installed. In this way, taking advantage of the effect of gravity a vehicle can be successfully guided against a restraint system at a representative speed. The vehicle used is a specifically prepared and sensored bogie, similar to those fitted to the trains currently operating on the Metro de Madrid network. Finally, to record the deceleration achieved and the performance of the system various accelerometers, restraint element extensometric gauges and a high-speed camera are used on the vehicle.

This Project is co-funded by the Community of Madrid Department of the Economy and Finance by way of the Regional Government Business Innovation Plan, managed by the Madrid Institute of Development (IMADE), within the framework of the European Regional Development Fund Operating Programme, under the objective of “Regional Competitiveness and Employment”, Madrid 2007-2013 (CCI Nº 2007ES162 PO004), with a co-financing rate of 50%, (ERDF) in Axis 1, Priority Item 4, Research and Technological Development Grants. Project dossier reference: PIE/221/2009.

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