D-RAIL will focus on freight traffic, identifying root causes of derailment of particular significance to freight vehicles, which have a wider range of operating parameters (as a result of the huge range in loads, speeds and maintenance quality) than passenger vehicles.
One key question that will be studied is how independent minor faults (e.g., a slight track twist and a failing bearing) could combine to cause a derailment. D-RAIL will extend this study to include the expected demands on the rail freight system forecast for 2050, such as heavier axle loads, faster freight vehicle speeds for time-sensitive – low volume high value high speed services (LVHVHS) – goods, radically new vehicle designs, or longer train consists.
A set of alarm limits will be specified which can be selected as appropriate by infrastructure managers, depending on local conditions. In tandem with the above analysis, current monitoring systems (both wayside and vehicle-mounted) and developing technologies will be assessed with respect to their ability to identify developing faults and potential dangers. Where current systems are shown to be deficient, the requirements for future monitoring systems will be specified.
D-RAIL will also examine vehicle identification technologies, such as the standards- and interoperability-focussed RFID system being implemented by GS1 and Trafikverket. Integration of alarm limits, monitoring systems and vehicles across national borders and network boundaries will be examined and a deployment plan set out based on RAMS and LCC analyses.
Procedures for applying speed limits to faulty vehicles, or taking them out of service, will be set out; this will include communication with the parties responsible for the transport of the freight and for maintenance of the vehicle.
This will input to standards, regulations and international contracts.
For field testing and validation, D-RAIL will have access to VUZ’s test track in the Czech Republic.