Chicago 13.-15. September

Slab Track Roadbeds in Germany -Implementation and Experience-

Dipl.-Ing. Jürgen Mörscher DB Netz AG

(C) AREMA (R) 2000

......................................................... 9 2...... 7 2.................. 14 3 Conclusion........... 4 2............... 14 2................................... 13 2.........3 Slab track stock on the DB network ............................................................................ 7 2..........2 Slab track licensing ........................................7 Future use of slab track ....... 3 New high-speed technology .................SLAB TRACK ROADBEDS IN GERMANY PAGE 2 Table of contents Page 1 2 Introduction.... 4 2.................................................................................1 Slab tracks ............................ 15 (C) AREMA (R) 2000 ..................... 8 2...................6 Developments in the quality of the track geometry of Slab Track ...............................................................................................................................................................5 Service trials for slab track near Waghäusel..............................................................................................................................8 Ballast track ...................................................................................................4 Slab track technology...................................

000 km of track with 71. It means that everyone concerned has to think. Spectacular successes or advances in leaps and bounds are rare indeed. thereby ensuring its future survival in the market is guaranteed without public subsidies. Only hard. (C) AREMA (R) 2000 . without which no company can remain competitive. Deutsche Bahn currently operates a network of 40. which are achieved by facility maintenance.000 switches. the prime in-house necessity is of course for cost cutting. It has sometimes taken decades for new technology to be tried and tested in practice before it has proven itself. With its long-life facilities.SLAB TRACK ROADBEDS IN GERMANY PAGE 3 Slab Track Roadbeds in Germany -Implementation and Experience - 1 Introduction One of the objectives of the 1994 railway reform is to increase DB AG’s competitiveness. track infrastructure represents a huge fixed cost factor in DB Netz’s company accounts. Although the long-term effect induced by technology is an uncomfortable reality in track infrastructure. This means focusing on • • • • • guaranteeing safety guaranteeing availability ensuring comfort complying with environmental legislation and proving profitability. Overriding all these objectives. This cannot be achieved without continually searching for innovative ideas and technology and resolutely implementing them in every area of rail activity.000 km of railway lines and 100. plan and act long term. it is nevertheless an incontrovertible fact. sustained meticulous work generally accompanied by detailed improvements can have a positive impact on this cost factor. These facilities have to be kept in good shape and must pay their way for both our customers – passenger and freight traffic – and for third parties.

SLAB TRACK ROADBEDS IN GERMANY PAGE 4 2 New high-speed technology 2. These requirements include: • • • • • • • lower life-cycle costs greater availability stable. new stretches of track in the high-speed area will. All these premises call for further innovative developments and alternative track designs. It requires a low-deformation support as used on bridges and in tunnels. (C) AREMA (R) 2000 . permanent track level with maximum ride comfort precisely defined track elasticity minimal maintenance costs use of eddy-current brakes and sufficient reserves for future generations of vehicles with even greater speeds.1 Slab tracks In future. Slab track designs may be classified as follows: • compact construction with and without sleepers/track panel [page 5] • supported construction exclusively with sleepers/track panel and [page 6] • special solutions. These designs can also be used on earthworks and in tunnels. With supported switches. be required to satisfy even higher quality standards. a further difference has to be made between elastic base plate bedding (ERL) and elastic sleeper bedding (ESL). Switches on slab track can likewise be inserted into this basic structure. Earthworks therefore require a multilayered arrangement of the load-carrying system with increasing stiffness in order to guarantee the required long-term resistance.The systems must enable relative movement to effect a reduction in the friction forces between track and bridge caused by temperature. slab track designs. The terms ‘concrete construction’ and ‘asphalt construction’ are also common here. however. as installed and tested in all manner of developments on more than 200 km of DB AG track. There are further differentiations depending on the type of construction material used in the upper bonded base layer (concrete. In terms of present-day scientific knowledge. Slab track is defined as a type of track based on a frost-protected concrete or asphalt layer precisely defined in terms of its deflection and damping. Only modified forms of slab track can be used on bridges. most readily satisfy the requirements for high speed. asphalt).

SLAB TRACK ROADBEDS IN GERMANY PAGE 5 Compact design slab track system RHEDA 2 600 mm 1 435 mm UIC 60 rail fastening concrete sleeper infill concrete concrete trough hydraulically bonded base course .

SLAB TRACK ROADBEDS IN GERMANY PAGE 6 Supported design slab track system ATD transverse force plinth UIC 60 rail 2 600 mm 1 435 mm securing element two-block sleeper asphalt base course hydraulically bonded base course .

2.3 Slab track stock on the DB network On 27 September 1998 the Hanover-Berlin high-speed rail link became fully operational after a 6-year construction period. The system can be granted a general licence and introduced as a DB AG standard design when its technical suitability has been proven by operational testing over several years with at least 3 winter periods or a traffic load of not less than 150 million tonnes.SLAB TRACK ROADBEDS IN GERMANY PAGE 7 2. The applicant must submit a design specification. the technical suitability of which has been proven by many years of testing or by special tests. they issue a general licence or a licence for operational testing. expert opinions and the results of lab tests and trials along with the licence application. This extended Deutsche Bahn’s highspeed network by a further 263 km of track. Once the railway authorities have studied and evaluated the construction design for the slab track or its system components. A total of approximately 90 km of the line (about 180 km of rail) comprises slab track. The slab track systems installed are standard DB AG designs and design modifications. With the Hanover-Berlin high-speed rail link and the preceding S-Bahn and intercity tracks (about 26 km) becoming operational between Berlin Zoo and Berlin Ostbahnhof in September 1996 and May 1998 respectively.This certifies that the slab track is perfectly safe and technically feasible in terms of state-of-the art technology. the length of slab track has increased to approximately 340 km in total. a user declaration is required from DB AG for the slab track or its system components to be used in the rail network. From now on these construction designs must prove themselves under the conditions of high-speed traffic. The licence for operational testing is generally subject to a fixed period of time.This user declaration is the rail company’s approval for the new system to be used in a specific case. A further 28 clothoid switches for high-speed traffic on slab track were installed in crossover connections and at turn-out points (26 switches on concrete base layer. proof of static rigidity.2 Slab track licensing The use of new slab tracks in the DB AG rail network is subject to licensing under public law or approval in individual cases (ZiE) from the Eisenbahn-Bundesamt [Federal Railway Office] (EBA). (C) AREMA (R) 2000 . In addition to the EBA licence. 2 switches on asphalt layer).

the scope for correction work is limited. At present the design quality is inadequate. Only a consistent quality assurance system adhered to by the purchaser and the supplier can remedy this. During construction. This applies to both concrete and asphalt constructions. It is as hard as ever to make a comparative evaluation of the new track system. The factor obtained for the sleeper-less designs in the Waghäusel construction project was 1. Higher production costs must be offset in turn by cutting costs for maintenance and through income generated from the greater availability of the track. track geometry and comfort using incontestable figures or value factors that can be included in profitability studies. resulting in defects in the manufacturing tolerance being detected at an early stage and in extreme cases the structural component dismantled and re-manufactured. 76% is built on a concrete base layer (BTS) and 24% on an asphalt base layer (ATS). meaning that structural inaccuracies call for later corrective rail tolerances. Results to date of monitoring show that no maintenance work was necessitated by the system itself. and savings on maintenance costs are only quantifiable to a limited extent. Permanent track level and low maintenance costs are expected of the slab track within its planned service life.5 m below running surface). and the hydrological conditions must not restrict the load-bearing capacity (groundwater table ≥ 1. This presupposes a high quality of planning and construction. The slab track must be based on a load-bearing frost-protected subsoil. as a rule.4 Slab track technology Of the slab track constructed so far. In comparison with a ballast track appropriate to the conditions. Any problem locations or problem areas detected during the site investigation must be brought into line with the requirements by taking geotechnical measures (underpinning the foundations). The cost factor for the least expensive designs used in the Hanover-Berlin highspeed rail link was about 1. The concrete surface must guarantee the planar bearing of the sleepers and the supporting switches when manufactured and after corrections. It is also difficult to substantiate the higher standards attainable with the slab track in terms of working and operating safety. Knowledge and experience confirm that with the correct design of the appropriate quality slab tracks can meet the demands placed upon them.4. The vertical correction is 20 mm and the lateral correction only 4 mm.2.The same precision requirements must be observed for the asphalt base layer (ATS) as for concrete layers with supported constructions. As the track level is fixed. (C) AREMA (R) 2000 . the justifiable cost factor for the slab track in terms of modern technology is about 1.5. the actual problems have been in the construction quality.SLAB TRACK ROADBEDS IN GERMANY PAGE 8 2. availability. The costs recorded were restricted to regular inspections and corrections on transitions to the ballast track. The base layer (BTS) must be made on exactly the right level for the supported designs of the slab track (± 2 mm).

The route section is traversed at a speed of 160 km/h.000 tonnes a day.e. Züblin BTE Elastically mounted base plates are used as rail fastenings resting on the jointless concrete base plate produced by a concrete extruding machine and reinforced to prevent crack formation. i. 2. Afterwards the individual rail supports are adjusted using a setting frame so that the level and height are exact and produced from cast-in-situ concrete reinforced with steel fibre. Schreck-Mieves A BTS is set up on an hydraulically bonded base course and four reinforcement binders are jiggled into ready-mixed concrete for each individual rail support.5 Service trials for slab track near Waghäusel A stretch of track of approximately 3km between Karlsruhe and Mannheim went into operation in 1996 for service trials on seven different types of Slab Track. Three of the 7 Slab track designs are described below: Hochtief. the track level quality at the time of going into service is practically maintained. And all of this must be achieved at market track prices. The line load totals some 110. In conjunction with the BTS. they form a monolithic system. To ensure rapid water drainage around the fastenings. 6 were of compact design and one a supported version. This track infrastructure must have a high standard of safety and guarantee short journey times in great comfort. Rain water is directly drained off the surface of the BTS.50 m for all the water to drain away. The requirements for this on the construction side are low manufacturing costs and low maintenance costs.SLAB TRACK ROADBEDS IN GERMANY PAGE 9 Print-outs obtained during inspection runs with track measuring cars confirmed the permanently stable track level of the slab track. DB’s goal is to provide a track infrastructure which perfectly matches customer requirements. the concrete base plate is equipped with two continuous reinforcements interrupted every 6. Of the 7 types. (C) AREMA (R) 2000 .

SLAB TRACK ROADBEDS IN GERMANY PAGE 10 Waghäusel: Slab track Hochtief/Schreck-Mieves .

SLAB TRACK ROADBEDS IN GERMANY PAGE 11 Waghäusel: Slab track system BTE Züblin ©AREMA (R) 2000 .

SLAB TRACK ROADBEDS IN GERMANY PAGE 12 Waghäusel: Slab track system Crailsheim Leonhard Weiss (C) AREMA (R) 2000 .

It can be seen that the geometry of the track did not change between 1990. In the picture below. The Q value is less than 15. 2. the year it was commissioned. maintenance works are required.6 Developments in the quality of the track geometry of Slab track The quality of the geometry of a given section of track can be described using what is referred to as the Q value.SLAB TRACK ROADBEDS IN GERMANY PAGE 13 Leonhard Weiss FFC A BTS is set up on an hydraulically bonded base course where the individual rail supports to accommodate the Loarv 300 rail mounting are initially roughly produced as an indentation in unset concrete. This is arrived at by taking the values for longitudinal level. Q-value Date of recording 1990 1995 Ballasted track Ballastless track Ballasted track (C) AREMA (R) 2000 . developments in the quality of the track geometry on a portion of the high-speed line between Hanover and Würzburg are shown as an example of the track geometry rating (Q value) of Slab Track (RHEDA Sengeberg). Immediately afterwards a finisher which re-treats the individual rail supports still to be moulded achieves the precision setting of level and height. Drainage is provided by the openings between each rail support. cross-level. and 1995. Where the Q value reaches 100. direction and track twisting produced by a track-measuring train and combining them into a single value using a weighting formula.

What is further required is a directive stipulating the limits for using and applying the licensed slab track construction designs correlating to the track characteristics.7 Future use of slab track PAGE 14 In the high-speed sector. This results in a hard vehicle ride partially linked with ICE vibrations and in certain problem areas (such as bridge abutments. constructions. This optimisation potential should be maximised in the interest of a broad. i.e.3-0. geometry. The range of slab tracks and system components on the market calls for systematisation and limitation or standardisation without barriers being set up that restrict innovation. What is therefore required for new stretches of track in the future with speeds of up to 300 km/h is to continue perfecting the ballast track in terms of long-term (C) AREMA (R) 2000 . DB AG is planning further new lines and extensions to existing lines. the switches have been truly set towards slab track! 2. In this sector.7 mm under a 200 kN ICE axle. the ballast-free track is becoming increasingly important for DB AG on account of technical requirements. Its uses and areas of application have expanded considerably thanks to its impressive level performance under operating conditions and the innovation drive in recent years. volume of traffic on the line. foundation conditions. DB AG will avail itself of the technical and economic opportunities offered by the slab track on the new lines and extensions to existing lines on the high-speed network as well as on particularly demanding lines and constructions. The earthworks.8 Ballast track Since 1991. This requires evaluation and selection criteria by which the intrinsic system characteristics of a particular construction design can be evaluated in terms of their functional advantages and disadvantages.). The high-speed 204 km Cologne-Rhine/Main line is constructed entirely of slab track. ballast wear with rising maintenance costs. DB is setting about doing this. built as standard European rails on ballast. etc. with high-speed passenger and heavy freight traffic on the same rails. type of traffic. flexible use of slab track and to further reduce costs.SLAB TRACK ROADBEDS IN GERMANY 2. Deutsche Bahn has been operating on its new stretches of track at speeds of 250 km/h to 280 km/h with mixed traffic. base layers and ballast bed were packed high to prevent settlement and consequently manifest low elasticity when operating today with rail depressions of 0. On this basis the various slab track construction designs that are different in terms of costs and technical features can be applied in direct relation to the constructionspecific and line-specific conditions (speed. tunnel/dam transitions or ballast/slab track transitions).

for instance • in future. From 1998 onwards.SLAB TRACK ROADBEDS IN GERMANY PAGE 15 performance and its safety against track buckling. even with the use of eddy-current brakes. Applying (C) AREMA (R) 2000 . reliability and comfort whilst observing the criteria of profitability. Improved ballast track on the new HannoverBerlin line with the B75 pre-stressed concrete sleeper 3 Conclusion The ability of the railways to remain competitive is inextricably linked with the criteria of safety. This newly developed state-of-the-art high-speed ballast track has been integrated into the 13 km Stendal southern loop as part of the Hanover-Berlin high-speed link in line with experience in the high-speed sector. it must prove its worth. it is the intention to use under-ballast mats on bridges and in the connecting back-fill areas. The result is • increased ballast bed thickness of 40 cm • the tried and tested UIC 60 rail (grade A) • the heavier B 75 pre-stressed concrete sleeper with a sleeper spacing of 63 cm • the new highly-elastic Loarv 300 rail mounting as used in the Rheda slab track.

SLAB TRACK ROADBEDS IN GERMANY PAGE 16 trend-setting technology in both the construction of new track and maintenance of the traditional network is a corporate obligation. (C) AREMA (R) 2000 .