Researchers develop new types of switch and crossing units

Faculty of Transport Engineering, the University of Pardubice, is part of the international project S-CODE (Switch and Crossing Optimal Design and Evaluation) where it cooperates with the University of Birmingham, England, and several institutions from other countries. Until late 2019, it will be involved in the development of new design concepts for switch and crossing (S&C) units.

The S-CODE project is designed to develop, validate and integrate new railway switch and crossing concepts that increase capacity, dependability and safety, while reducing investment and operating costs. It will be the task of the Faculty of Transport Engineering to use unconventional approaches to help the partners develop and verify the new design of a part of or the entire switch and crossing unit from the point of view of the rolling stock. It is the very issue of vehicle-track interaction that the team of rolling stock section has been specialized in for over 20 years.

Challenge for experts from the Faculty of Transport Engineering

On behalf of the Faculty of Transport Engineering, experts of the Section of Rail Vehicles, Department of Transport Means and Diagnostics, will work on the project. The S-CODE project is a challenge and the first opportunity for the employees of the Faculty of Transport Engineering to participate in a large European research project. At the same time, however, it is necessary to emphasize that the involvement in this project would not be possible without the expertise and experience gained in the contractual research in long-term cooperation with companies and universities in the field of vehicle-track interaction, construction materials and switch and crossing structures.

Researchers from the Faculty of Transport Engineering University of Pardubice are responsible for three main tasks.

•           Computational simulation of vehicle-track interaction in S&C

Own MBS software, which is in development at the Department of Transport Means and Diagnostics, Section of Rail Vehicles more than 25 years, should be used for optimization and comparison of current and new concepts of S&C (outputs from the S-CODE project).

Researchers are just working on ability to define different stiffness (dynamic characteristics of track) along the S&C and use of 3D data of the theoretical as well as scanned worn S&C rail parts as inputs in our MBS simulation tool, including visualization tool.


•           On train monitoring systems for S&C diagnostics and maintenance

Based on previous results in experimental research and measurements on vehicles during in operation and computational simulations researchers from Pardubice help with design of modern diagnosing instruments (sensors, signal processing and evaluation) for S&C diagnostics and maintenance.


•           Development of novel material and use of additive manufacturing solutions in S&C

Researchers analyze possibility of using special material for contact layer in combination with standard steel support structure for high dynamically loaded parts in S&C. Through intended heterogeneity they should get improved contact fatigue resistance. Special design steel material is just now in production. The idea of unconventional thermomechanical connection of both steel parts as well as possibilities and limits of unconventional repairing of S&C through additive manufacturing are planned to be tested in Educational and Research centre in Transport in Doubravice till the end of this year.

Tests also to be carried out in the laboratories of the Faculty in Doubravice

The project, which began in November 2016, is divided into three phases of implementation. The introductory part concerned the research of the current level of development in the field, the analysis of the technical, safety and operational requirements for S&C units used in Europe, which will determine the proposed design and help us find useful technologies and materials that will form the basis thereof. This is followed by the technical design development phase, which includes the areas of design, materials and simulation computing for an optimal configuration and a combination of partial designs to maximize the usable switch and crossing parameters. The last phase will be the actual testing of designs of selected construction nodes or concepts and the evaluation of the effectiveness of meeting the initial requirements. This phase is envisaged to involve the modern laboratory facilities of the Faculty of Transport Engineering at the Doubravice Training and Research Centre.

The research team is international

In addition to the partners from the Czech Republic, the project involves partners from Spain (Ferrovial Agroman SA, Comsa Sau SA), Austria (Rhomberg Sersa Rail Holding GmbH) and the United Kingdom (Loughborough University, Rail Safety and Standards Board Limited).

The S-CODE project is one of the projects of the University of Pardubice implemented in the HORIZON 2020 programme. It is based on existing national and European research projects (in particular the In2Rail, Capacity4Rail and Innotrack projects).


Name of Project: Switch and Crossing Optimal Design and Evaluation (S-CODE)

Reg. Project No: 730849

Programme: HORIZON 2020, Shift2Rail

Period of implementation: January 1, 2016 to October 31, 2019

Total project budget: EUR 5 million

Budget of UPa, DFJP: EUR 270 thousand



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