Urban Track


CEE research program: URBAN TRACK (2006-2010) 

1. Main objective of the program

The program aims to provide solutions to achieve a modular urban track infrastructure (tramway, metro, RER) which is characterized by a low cost, little or no maintenance, high availability, constant comfort, and ensuring high punctuality all this while preserving the environment and ensuring safety. To achieve these objectives, the quality and attractiveness of tracks must be improved and new technologies, as well as standardization of methods, must be introduced into the process.

The project is divided into different sub-projects with different objectives:

SP1: New modular track systems at low cost and fast installation methods
SP2: Methods for cost effective track maintenance, renewal and refurbishment
SP3: Design and implementations of solutions at test sites
SP4: Calculation of LCC (life cycle cost)
SP5: Functional requirements & performance specifications

To achieve this goal, an important group of partners incorporating different types has been established:

  • Designers and manufacturers of track components,
  • Users, that is to say transport networks (eg STIB),
  • Research institutes (including UCLouvain),   
  • Laying of railways,
  • Consultancy and consultancy (D2S International) coordinator.

This makes a total of 29 partners from 9 countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Philippines and South Africa.   


2. UCLouvain interventionsTesting the fatigue resistance of the track to tyre load

As part of the study, the UCLouvain occurs through the LEMSC (Laboratory of Mechanical Testing, Structure and Civil Engineering).
The laboratory was contacted to be part of the consortium as a testing laboratory for partners who need laboratory testing for:

  • Characterize materials used by prototypes,
  • Characterization of anti-vibration systems,
  • Check the durability of the systems under consideration before placing them on the network.

Indeed, prior to commissioning a new product on a network,

  • It is desirable to ensure its effectiveness a priori as installation costs are significant,
  • It is necessary to check her outfit for security issues.


3. Durable equipment

Consortium's desire to see the LEMSC to participate in the project is linked to the laboratory equipment that allows performing tests of a certain size and a certain capacity (simulating the full-scale vehicle): tests floor (24 x 12 m) with structures (columns and beams), a loading system (actuators, servo-hydraulic pump, electronic controller, system measurement and acquisition).
This device is used for many similar projects in the field of rail or civil engineering structure. Slab testing, structures and actuators date from the construction of the laboratory (1970). In 2002, the hydraulic system (pump, lines and stations insulation), the electronic and computer systems have been completely renewed by Zwick Amsler-for a total of nearly 300 000 euros on equity laboratory.