Advantages of Slab Track Austria.
The technology of Slab Track Austria offers a lot of advantages:
- long service life
- small system dimensions
- hardly any maintenance
- quick repairs
- and much more
Maintenance and life time.
In contrast to the usually higher production costs for ballasted track, there are hardly any additional expenses for ballastless track. As a rule, only maintenance services that are not tied to the system are required. Due to the higher track accuracy, less wear and tear - and therefore in turn a longer durability of the system.
Estimated service life for Slab Track Austria is at least 60 years and therefore much longer than for conventional ballasted track systems, where it is between 30 and 40 years. Compared to other ballastless track systems, such as the Japanese Shinkansen technology, which uses bituminous separation layers, the elastomer components of Slab Track Austria havehave a much higher resistance to extremely high or low temperatures as well as UV light.
The following graph shows the life cycle costs of Slab Track Austria compared to a conventional ballasted track. After about 20 years, the costs for construction and maintenance of the ballasted track are significantly higher than for an implementation with Slab Track Austria.
Low track width and height.
The small system dimensions and the associated modularity and flexibility of Slab Track Austria are particularly advantageous for challenging projects with minimal space. And offer significant cost-saving potential, especially when renovating old tunnels.
The dimensions of the Slab Track Austria track support slab, with a minimum width of 2.1 m and an overall system height of 43 cm, make it possible to carry out work in confined spaces without having to extend the tunnel profile. The height of the upper rail edge is lowered by the slab track system and additional clearance is created in order to subsequently electrify the tunnel or to increase the track spacing due to higher safety requirements.
Less labor intensive.
Due to the high degree of pre-fabrication the construction method of the Slab Track Austria system requires less labor and follow-up work. Due to the rapid drying of the self-compacting concrete, work is also possible during short track closures. Laying is fast and precise and concreting work is reduced to a minimum. Compared to other ballastless track systems, the construction of Slab Track Austria takes up to 50 % less time.
Noise and Vibration Attenuation.
The 2-level-elasticity of the fastenings and the elastomeric layer reduces structural-borne noise and thus ensures smoother running of the train. Most of the load distribution is done by the highly elastic track fastening system.
The Slab Track Austria system has a multi-layer elasticity. The deflection of the rail support seat amounts to 1.5mm. And the deflection of the elastic layer underneath the slab amounts up to 0.2mm, depending on the stiffness and the surrounding temperature. This slab design prevents singular local load peaks. By the time the deflection from the rail support reaches the sub layer, the load is evenly distributed to an absolute minimum thanks to the system elasticity.
Successful repair concept.
Fast and Easy Slab Replacement of the track support plates.
A repair and/or replacement might be necessary, for example, when severe settlement differences or train derailments occur. The design of the Slab Track Austria enables for a quick and easy level adjustment or panel repair and replacement in case of damage due to derailments. The duration of the track closure are kept to a minimu. The space required for repair or replacement is also very small, so that the parallel track can remain in operation.
The elastic layer separates the slab from the self-compacting concrete. The concrete that fixes the track base plates can be removed from the openings, therefore allowing the plates to be easily lifted. This way, replacement can be done within three to four hours.
The elastomeric layer on the bottom of the panel also allows for easy decoupling from the track and fast replacement. The following video illustrates how expediently a panel can be replaced.
Repair in Case of Settlement.
In case of differential track settlement, it is possible to correct the track position with minimal effort and save corresponding resources. f the required settlement exceeds the maximum height adjustability of the rail support point, raising the track support plate still makes it possible to adjust the tracks.
As can be seen in the below animation, the adjustment of the track level is done in the following way:
- Decoupling the slabs by removing the concrete from the conical slab openings
- Adjusting the level of the track base plates by lifting the plates with the spindles to the correct new position
- Setting up the side formwork is
- Using concrete to fill the gap between the slab and the settled base and re-lock the slabs in place
Openings and access shafts.
In contrast to sleeper systems,openings for revision and storage shafts, for example, can be provided wherever necessary in track floor slabs. This is also how block-outs of 1.80 x 0.80m have already been implemented in the tunnel of the North-South-Link in Berlin. In addition, by reducing the length of the track base plates, 250mm wide cable crossings can be installed.
Independent of weather conditions.
Compared to in-situ precast concrete slab track systems, the precast system of Slab Track Austria minimizes weather-related influences on panel and track quality. Panels are manufactured under controlled conditions at a reliable performance rate in a factory. Very high or low outside temperaturey do not influence the curing proces. This makes it possible for the panels to be produced in the highest quality and then delivered to the construction site just-in-time.
Due to a seamless quality assurance system, a constant high quality is guaranteed and documented.
The prefabrication of the track base plates in an external production facility increases the reliability of the construction quality and execution schedule. Mistakes on-site are reduced to a minimum by using the prefabricated track-bearing slabs under laboratory conditions.
- Prefabrication in the factory is independent of weather conditions
- The production of the track slabs takes place 24/7, regardless of noise emissions restrictions by neighbours or possible restrictions by nature conservation areas in the vicinity of the construction site.
- Each base track plate is tested in advance at the production facility to ensure highest quality. This is how we ensure that every single slab meets the required criteria. Should there be an issue with a plate, it is identified and rectified directly in the production facility. Slabs that do not meet our highest standards are replaced in advance or repaired before delivery. The process runs independently of time-critical work on the construction site.
- Curing is an integral standard process in factory production. This minimises the surfaces exposed to the air that have to be cured on the construction site during the finishing process.
- The transport of the concrete - if not already produced in the precast plant area - takes place on standard routes. Logistics can thus be better planned than with a permanently moving construction site. As a result, productivity and concrete quality increase.
- Prefabrication of the base track plates requires some lead time and can start earlier, regardless of the availability of the construction site or preliminary work.
The long life cycle and low maintenance requirements as well as the quick repair concept, also increase the reliability of the system in the operational phase.
High quality concrete finish.
As the visible concrete surface is dominated by the high quality prefabrication panels, the end product also impresses with a high surface quality. The surface also enables high-precision installation of additional track equipment.