Black museum: exhibiting justice

first_imgAn execution rope, straitjacket and cat o’ nine tails are among the exhibits at the National Justice Museum in Nottingham, the opening of which was formally announced last week. The pamphlet is a Victorian biography of William Marwood, originator of the ‘long drop’ method of hanging. Other exhibits in the former courthouse and gaol include Oscar Wilde’s cell door and the dock from Bow Street Magistrates’ Court.See www.nationaljusticemuseum.org.uklast_img

MoJ figures show five-figure slump in PI claims

first_imgThe Ministry of Justice – the department pushing through measures to curb personal injury claims – has revealed that the number of such claims is already on the decline.Civil justice statistics published today confirmed that the number of personal injury claims in the county court fell by 7% to 33,500 in the first quarter of 2018. The decrease represents a reversal in claim trends, after the same period in 2017 reflected a 10% increase in PI claims.The current fall comes just weeks after the Department for Work and Pensions’ Compensation Recovery Unit reported that the total number of cases registered with it fell by 13% to 853,615 in 2017/28. Personal injury lawyers suggest the government is already winning its battle to reduce claims numbers and should delay further reform until changes from recent years have had a chance to take full effect.Justice secretary David Gauke has backed the new Civil Liability Bill Civil Liability Bill saying the number of whiplash claims had been ‘too high for too long’, and was ‘symptomatic of a wider compensation culture’. That legislation, which introduces a tariff for whiplash damages, is due for report stage in the House of Lords next Tuesday.Justice minister Rory Stewart, answering a written question in parliament this week, reiterated that the government intends to implement all elements of its reform programme by 2019. This includes both the measures in the Civil Liability Bill and supplementary measures to increase the small claims limit for PI claims which require secondary legislation.Elsewhere in the MoJ’s civil justice statistics, it was confirmed the average time taken for small claims has increased by two weeks to 33 weeks and for multi and fast track claims by almost two weeks to 56.7 weeks. In January to March 2018, almost all (98%) of unspecified money defences (largely made up of PI claims) had legal representation for both the respondent and claimant.last_img read more

Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC dies at 92

first_imgTributes are being paid to eminent public and administrative law silk Sir Louis Blom-Cooper, who has died aged 92. The Doughty Street chambers QC, called to the bar in 1952, was chair of the Mental Health Act Commission from 1987 to 1994, a judge in the Court of Appeal of Jersey and of Guernsey from 1988 to 1996, and has been a bencher of the Middle Temple since 1978.Blom-Cooper chaired many public inquiries, including the Jasmine Beckford and Ashworth Inquiries.#*#*Show Fullscreen*#*# Sir Louis Blom-Cooper in 1987Sir Keir Starmer QC, shadow secretary of state for exiting the European Union, tweeted: ’The passing away last night of my friend & @DoughtyStreet colleague, Louis Blom-Cooper, is truly sad news. An unwavering advocate of justice, fiercely independent & great company.’Blom-Cooper gave evidence on the nature of public enquiries to the High Court in the Harold Shipman Inquiry. A prolific author, he published a book on the subject last year: ’Public Inquiries: Wrong Route on Bloody Sunday’.Blom-Cooper sat as a deputy High Court judge sitting on housing and judicial review cases until 1996. In 1992 he was appointed the first Independent Commissioner for the Holding Centres in Northern Ireland. He was chairman of the Press Council, a predecessor the Press Complaints Commission (also now defunct) from 1988 to 1990.Solicitor Mark Harvey, head of specialist personal injury at Hugh James in Wales, tweeted: ’Recall Mr Blom-Cooper being brought into a case by a colleague for the Court of Appeal. I asked why and he said every Sunday he lunched with the then Master of the Rolls! Polished advocate; very sorry to hear of his passing.’In a tribute to Blom-Cooper published on his 90th birthday in 2016, Doughty Street noted that he was at the forefront of the campaign for the abolition of the death penalty in 1965.  The chambers added: ’It was he who first challenged the mandatory death penalty throughout the Commonwealth, raising arguments decades before they came to be accepted by the Privy Council.’He was an inspirational figure in the Howard League for Penal reform, spearheading many of its campaigns. He fought for the rights of prisoners and won landmark cases such as Raymond v Honey which opened up the present system to judicial review; his influence throughout administrative law was pervasive. Most of all he was a prophet of future developments throughout his life. It was he who argued for the application of the principles of natural justice in the field of immigration, prisons disciplinary proceedings and local government decision making long before these principles became clearly established. He was a great scholar of the law.’last_img read more

Montréal extensions approved

first_imgTHE GOVERNMENT of Québec announced on April 11 that it plans to spend C$1·6bn on rail expansion over the next 10 years. Included are extensions of the rubber-tyred metro network to Laval, Anjou and Longueuil, and a fourth commuter rail route from Central station to Mont-Saint-Hilaire. The scheme will add a further 7 km of metro tunnels and eight new stations, in addition to the previously announced extensions to Laval and to Pie IX Boulevard.The long-promised C$350m extension of Line 2 from Henri Bourassa to Laval will have three stations, including an interchange with the Blainville commuter route at St Martin. After the 900 m extension from St Michel to Pie IX, Line 5 will be continued northeast to St Léonard-Anjou. Cross-river Line 4 will be projected from Longueuil to Collège Edouard Montpetit, and studies are under way for a city centre extension from Berri-UQAM to McGill on Line 1.Transport Minister Guy Chevrette is seeking C$800m from the federal government to support the package. The province has approved its share of the financing and Chevrette suggested that construction could begin later this year.The city’s Metropolitan Transport Agency is currently working on proposals for commuter rail extensions to Iberville and Dorval Airport, and for four light rail lines (RG 4.00 p206).last_img read more

PEOPLE

first_imgPresident Bush has nominated Allan Rutter as Administrator of the US Federal Railroad Administration. He had been Director of Transportation Policy in the Texas Governor’s Office since 1995.British Columbia Railway has appointed Robert Phillips as President & CEO.Queensland Rail has made a number of appointments. Mike Scanlan has become Group General Manager, Passenger Services. David George is Group General Manager, Coal & Freight Services.Congressman Rep Mike Ferguson has been named as Vice Chairman of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Railroads, saying he will keep trains ’safe, affordable and environmentally sound’.Walter Hofstetter has been appointed Head of Personnel at Swiss Federal Railways, a post he has held in an acting capacity since Daniel Nordmann moved to head SBB Cargo last December.Peter Kalikow has been confirmed as Chairman of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.Donald P Preau has become Deputy General Manager at the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, in charge of the tramcar building programme.The Elevated Transit Corporation of Seattle has appointed Harold Robertson as Executive Director, Tom Weeks as Chairman, Kristina Hill as Vice Chairman, Alec Fisken as Treasurer, and Tom Carr as Secretary.Former Saskatchewan Highway Minister Judy Bradley has joined CanRail West’s advisory committee.Interfleet Technology has appointed Ernie Atkinson as Business Development Manager for its operations in the USA.On April 1 Miroslav Kapoun stepped down as Czech Railways’ Executive Committee Chairman.Peter Parkin has joined the QSS Group as an engineering and safety consultant.Derek Smith announced on April 11 that he is to step down as Chairman & Managing Director of London Underground and return to the National HealthService later this year.Syed Gulrez Hashmey has become Divisional Superintendent, Peshawar, of Pakistan Railways, replacing Raja Naasir who has moved to the Ministry of Railways. Rasheed Mehmood has taken Hashmey’s place at Quetta. Khalid Javed has become Executive Engineer, Designs, and Principal Officer, Commercial & Transportation Department. Wajeehuddin Pervez has retired. Abdul Qayyum Khosa has been appointed as Director of Public Relations.Dockland’s Light Railway Chief Executive Ian Brown has been appointed Special Advisor on Rail to Commissioner for Transport in London Bob Kiley for an initial period of six months. He will remain in his post with DLR. Colin Douglas has become Transport for London’s Director of Communications.François Cammarata, a board member of Belgian National Railways since 1991, has died.Robert Jung has been named as Acting Chairman of Rigi Railways, replacing Kandid Hofstetter, who has left the organisation.Vaughn W Makary has been elected CEO & Director of ABC-NACO. Daniel W Duval was elected Non-Executive Chairman of the Board.Tony Jolly has been appointed Project Director for the Spencer Street Station redevelopment in Melbourne.Union Switch & Signal President & CEO Roberto Gagliardi has become Chairman of Ansaldo Signal. Kenneth R Burk has succeeded him at US&S.James P Hyslip has been named Vice President of Massachusetts railway engineering consultancy Ernest T Selig Inc.Chris Binns has been appointed UK President for Signalling at Adtranz.Railtrack Chief Engineer Andrew McNaughton and Rod Muttram, Chief Executive, Railway Safety, have joined the board of the Rail Industry Training Council.On March 1 Peter Johnson became UK and Ireland Marketing & Sales Director for Westinghouse Brakes and parent company Knorr-Bremse.Gibb Ltd has appointed Tom King as Managing Director of its Global Transport Group.Engineering consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff has appointed John Appleton as Corporate Development Director.Former Northern Spirit Human Resources Director Julie Adams has been appointed as HR Director at Arriva Trains.Rail engineering consultant, and former Director of Mechanical &Electrical Engineering at the BRBoard, Tony Roche is to be elected 116th President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on May 23.On April 18 English Welsh & Scottish Railway announced the appointment of James Wilson as General Manager, Coal.Minister of Transport & Communications Dr Swithun Mombeshora has appointed a new board at National Railways of Zimbabwe. Chairman is Chivarange Chimombe, Vice Chairman is K H Kambarami, and General Manager Samson Zumbika is an ex-officio member. Other members are Maphios Cheda, James Maphosa, Dr Enock Malaba, Devanand Popatial and Judith Rufaro Buzuzi.Russian Railways has appointed new Vice-Presidents at several of its regional railways. A Kurochkin becomes Vice-President of the South Eastern Railway; I A Tombrovski, Transbaikal Railway; S V Semyonov, October Railway; A Lomanov; North Caucasian Railway; V A Steplevich, Sakhalin Railway; and G D Vezhnyev, Kuyibishev Railway.last_img read more

‘You cannot live without research’

first_imgINTRO: One of the organisations influencing railway research in Europe is the Union of European Railway Industries. General Manager Drewin Nieuwenhuis feels ’the political winds are in favour of rail’, telling Murray Hughes in Brussels that he expected a positive response to UNIFE’s application for EU research fundsDURING THE late 1990s UNIFE enhanced its stature when the then Chairman, Adtranz chief Kaare Vagner decided ’to get the big companies really involved’. According to General Manager Drewin Nieuwenhuis, it was this that transformed UNIFE into a professional rail industry lobbying organisation.Recognising that the EU bodies in Brussels could have a direct influence on the railway industry and related policies governing the environment, technology and standardisation, UNIFE moved from Paris to be closer to the fulcrum of European legislative power. The organisation now has eight full-time staff, its premises have been modernised, and Nieuwenhuis has overseen the launch of e-newsletters and a website.In contrast to the International Union of Railways or the International Union of Public Transport, where information on research issues is generally shared, UNIFE heads a grouping of private companies who compete against each other and who have no interest in transferring knowledge unless there is a common benefit.International rivalries also exist, and UNIFE counts among its associate members 11 national rail industry associations, with whom it ’is now negotiating to become more involved’. Around 60 companies form the bulk of the membership, but the national associations represent another 600. UNIFE thus has clout to be reckoned with – altogether Europe’s railway industry turns over around €27bn a year and employs 130000 people.Membership was strengthened in 1999 by the adherence of the European Federation of Rail Trackwork Contractors, which represents about 35 companies, but since then UNIFE has lost several members through mergers and takeovers. Nieuwenhuis believes that the consolidation process of the systems integrators may have stopped for the time being, but ’my expectation is that it will continue at the next level down’. A membership recruitment drive is currently targeted at railway infrastructure contractors, telecommunications companies, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).PartnershipsUNIFE works closely with the UIC and UITP, but also with the Community of European Railways, the International Union of Road-Rail Transport and the International Union of Private Wagon Owners, pushing for influence and funding at the European level. In May, for example, it submitted to the European Commission a European Railway Research Strategy jointly prepared with the UIC, UITP and the CER.Essentially this is aimed at securing a slice of funding from the 6th Framework Programme for European R&D, which starts in 2002-03 and has a total budget of €16bn. Of this, the €200m sought by UNIFE and its partners looks decidedly modest. Asked if the application will succeed, Nieuwenhuis replies that ’it is looking good, and no-one seems to be against it’.If secured, the funds will be used for joint research projects, probably related to the goal of interoperability – UNIFE manages jointly with UIC and UITP the secretariat of the European Association for Railway Interoperability (AEIF). Because of inter-company competition, work will be limited to areas of common interest such as the European driver’s control desk, a project funded under the current 5th Framework Programme. Nieuwenhuis explains that even interoperability research ’is a delicate thing for our members’, and he compares the disparate rail suppliers with a united European air industry that competes principally against Boeing in the USA.UNIFE can achieve a lot by persuading companies to work together where there genuinely is a common benefit. For example, it has drawn up a common specification for life-cycle costs, as ’everyone should use the same definitions and criteria’.Questioned about the factors influencing the choice of R&D projects, Nieuwenhuis says that ’we all have an interest in enlarging the market share of the rail business; it is important to us to develop the economies of scale, not special products for each customer. Systems become less expensive if you standardise, and UIC and UITP now realise that.’ He refers to disparate procurement procedures – ’it would help if we could use the same terms, and we are trying to bring this about with the UIC and UITP.’One good example of a European investment project in which the rolling stock industry has a common interest is the twin-tunnel climate chamber nearing completion in Wien; several major UNIFE members are among the stakeholders. Once intended for construction at the Siemens site in Wegberg-Wildenrath, this single facility will serve the whole of Europe, and all railways and suppliers stand to benefit.Nieuwenhuis affirms that ’the bulk of industry research is company-specific’, with the total spend by suppliers touching €1bn a year. Most of this is invested by the systems integrators and major sub-suppliers. Driving increased spending by the industry is a decline in the volume of research carried out by Europe’s railways, although some, such as DB and SNCF, retain large research facilities.ERRI’s role, he believes, is also decreasing and changing, although the organisation may in future obtain more subcontracted work (p761).When railways are restructured or privatised, there is a danger that research is reduced or abandoned, as happened in Britain. If this occurs, ’you are making a mistake’, warns Nieuwenhuis. ’You won’t know what to purchase in 10 years’ time, and people don’t want to ride around in 20-year old trains when cars are replaced about every six years.’He believes that ’it is important to invest in research at first product level’, but ’you need a lot of money and back-up. SMEs have a lot of innovative power, and we want the European Commission to promote this.’World outlookAs the main suppliers have merged and consolidated, they have become large multi-national groups. Inevitably, this has a bearing on their role within UNIFE. They may not wish to assemble rolling stock in the EU, for example, as it may be cheaper to do so in eastern Europe or Asia. Nieuwenhuis counters this by saying that UIC and UITP would like UNIFE to become more involved worldwide, for example in major railway events.He also says that there is an EU programme to help SMEs promote their products outside Europe, for example in the Asia-Pacific region – ’the Chinese market is very interesting, for example.’ UNIFE is also in contact with APTA and the High Speed Ground Transportation Association in the USA.UNIFE now counts among its members at least two American companies. General Motors-EMD, and less publicly, General Electric Transportation Systems, have joined UNIFE within the last year; GETS did so through purchase of an Italian signalling subsidiary. Did this not create tensions among existing members? Nieuwenhuis confirms that it did, but he says the membership decisions were approved by the Presiding Board and the General Assembly. Clearly, ’Europe is a very interesting market’ for US suppliers, he suggests.Recent orders for versions of EMD’s JT42CWR (Class 66) for use in Continental Europe have been placed because the locomotive has a proven track record and because diesel traction avoids the complications of different power supplies – achieving interoperability in a manner probably not foreseen by those who dreamt up the concept.With the first TSIs for interoperability on conventional lines due in 2003 for application in 2006, Nieuwenhuis believes that railways are moving towards ’a single European system’, as envisaged in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by UNIFE, UIC, UITP and CER in June. This would allow an increase in market share and make the railway business more attractive to commercial operators. This in turn, thinks Nieuwenhuis, will lead to ’large groupings dividing up the railway markets in Europe. There will be concentration, as in the USA, with pan-European companies and more regional operators at a lower level.’Just how this will come about is not clear, but Nieuwenhuis feels that massive change is needed by the railways too. ’Industry has changed from handcraft to modern production tools, and operators should do the same. They must be modern commercial enterprises, and if they do this, they can win a substantial part of the market.’CAPTION: Taking shape on schedule in the Wien suburb of Floridsdorf, the pan-European twin-tunnel climate chamber is due to be operational at the end of 2002Photo: Rail Tec Arsenallast_img read more

Passante route out to tender

first_imgNINE COMPANIES have prequalified for a contract to operate the first service through Milano’s Passante cross-city tunnel, which is due to open throughout on December 10 2006. Lombardia region announced on July 23 that it would issue the final invitation to tender shortly.The nine-year contract covers the operation of a service linking Varese, Gallerate, Segrate and Piotello. Designated S5, it is one of nine routes in the new Lombardia regional rail network to be launched with the December timetable change this year.Varese – Piotello services will be operated using a fleet of 15 new TSR regional trainsets being acquired by the region at a cost of €108m. Trains will run hourly from Varese and half-hourly from Gallerate every day of the year, with extra services at peak times. Connections will be provided at Piotello with trains to Bergamo, Brescia and Cremona. In the longer term, services could be extended to Treviglio following the completion of quadrupling works.The route is the first in the region to be put out to competitive tender, and Lombardia has budgeted for a basic subsidy of €7·7m a year. The prequalified bidders include Trenitalia, Ferrovie Nord Milano and local metro operator ATM. According to the city council member for infrastructure and mobility, Massimo Cosaro, opening the rail network to competition is expected to drive up the quality of service.Bids are due to be invited this month for two further concessions in the region. One covering Milano – Molteno – Lecco and Como – Lecco will also start in December 2006 and run for nine years. The other covers integrated rail and bus services be-tween Brescia, Iseo and Edolo; this will run for seven years from December 2005.last_img read more

Demands on the subgrade drive GPR developments

first_imgHigher axleloads, rising traffic and route rationalisation are placing unprecedented demands on the track substructure of North American railways. In response, the industry is developing more effective substructure maintenance management techniques that include ground-penetrating radar,James P Hyslip PhD PEVice-President Engineering, Optram IncTHE CONDITION of track substructure has a profound influence on track performance. Ensuring that it is in good condition and keeping it that way is essential on high tonnage lines, although determining precisely what that condition is may not be straightforward. The advent of tools such as ground-penetrating radar will make this process easier, and pioneering work with GPR has been carried out in North America.Before exploring the development of GPR, it may be helpful to set out the background to the project. Track substructure is the term used to describe the different layers of rock and soil under the sleepers, including the ballast, sub-ballast – or formation protection layer – and the subgrade soil. Poorly performing substructure not only leads to high rates of track geometry degradation but also promotes higher rates of wear of the rail, sleepers, fastenings and other track components.Substructure problems are typically associated with poor drainage, fouled ballast, subgrade failure or deformation, and longitudinal variation of conditions. Correction of chronic problems requires the root causes to be determined – typically one or more from this list. It is important to note that resources can be wasted on implementing an incorrect or incomplete solution. A significant part of the track maintenance budget on US Class I railroads is allocated to correcting poor track quality caused by movements in the substructure under repeated train loading. Accurate knowledge of the substructure condition is important in effectively assessing the potential for serious degradation that would interrupt traffic and require speed restrictions.The ballast and soil layers in the track system are subjected to unparalleled loading conditions, in that trains apply a very heavy load at exactly the same location over millions and millions of cycles. Consequently, the ballast and soil under the track often deform and fail in ways that are unique to the railway loading environment.Substructure performance becomes increasingly critical as axleloads, and the number of repetitions of these loads, increase. Historically stable track can begin to deteriorate rapidly when heavy axleload traffic is introduced.North American railroads are placing unprecedented demands on the track substructure, essentially because of higher axleloads, rising freight traffic and rationalisation of lines. Additionally, some existing main lines are being considered for mixed use with new high speed passenger services where the challenges of different dynamic loads and vibration will need to be addressed.Recognising the problemIt is for these reasons that the North American railroad industry is working to develop more effective Substructure Maintenance Management (SuMM) techniques. For example, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, with the support of the Federal Railroad Administration, has recognised the need for improved substructure management and has made efforts to develop technology that will help to manage the track substructure more effectively.Over the past 2 1/2 years, BNSF and FRA have sponsored GPR development by a team consisting of Ernest Selig and Jim Hyslip of Optram Inc, based in Hadley, Massachusetts, Gary Olhoeft from the Colorado School of Mines and Stan Smith of GeoRecovery Systems Inc. This has led to the development of a prototype GPR system mounted on a road-rail vehicle and the completion of GPR surveys on more than 300km of track in North America, including main lines used by heavy freight traffic and third rail electrified commuter lines.The results of this work to date have shown that GPR can be used to assess the condition of track substructure and produce quantitative indices for use in the management of track maintenance.How it worksThe GPR method transmits pulses of radio energy into the subsurface, and then receives returning pulses that have reflected off layer boundaries below the track surface. GPR antenna pairs, consisting of transmitter and receiver pairs, are moved along the track with a continuous series of radar pulses, giving a profile of the subsurface. Reflections of the GPR pulse occur at boundaries in the subsurface where there is a change in material properties. Only a portion of the pulsed signal is reflected at a layer boundary, and the remaining part of the pulse travels across the interface to be reflected again back to the receiver from another interface boundary. The time the pulse takes to travel through the layer and back is controlled by the thickness and properties of the material.The GPR equipment currently in use is mounted on a road-rail vehicle and includes multiple sets of 1 GHz air-launched horn antennae suspended above the track. The air-launched antennae permit fast survey speeds and high-resolution measurement. The GPR vehicle moves continuously at speeds ranging from under 3 km/h to over 40 km/h. However, higher speeds are possible, and the desired speed is a function of the longitudinal resolution required for the application. At 16 km/h the GPR system achieves resolution of a few centimetres horizontally and a few millimetres vertically to depths of more than 2 m.Antenna configuration and surveying procedures are designed to reduce the influence of sleepers and rail. Antennae are located at both ends of the sleepers as well as in the track centreline, so variation of condition can be seen laterally across the track. This arrangement permits three continuous longitudinal profiles to be collected simultaneously as the pairs of antennae are moved along the track. In this way the subsurface condition variations are obtained across the track as well as along the track.An accurate DGPS location system is supplemented by a vehicle distance-measuring encoder. There is also a digital video with integrated DGPS for identifying track features, clutter and obstacles along the track and to augment accurate positioning. The GPR software has automatic processing and modelling capabilities to provide substructure condition indices for use in maintenance management programmes.The prototype can provide quantified information on substructure layers, such as thickness, lateral/longitudinal extent, and changes in layers from repeat surveys over time. It can detect the presence of trapped water, and further enhancement using proven radar modelling techniques will soon give it the ability to quantify accurately the thickness and water content of the substructure layers as well as the material composition of these layers. Methods are also being explored to determine the fouling condition of the ballast by analysing the textures of the GPR images.Three applicationsThe application of GPR in the railway industry can be separated into three categories: site-specific investigations, maintenance planning and monitoring.In the first area, GPR provides a means to obtain a visual image of the substructure along a section of track with particular chronic problems. Along with railway geotechnology, this can be used to determine the root cause of the problem, the precise sections needing repair and cost-effective treatment.GPR data is being used to determine if chronic track problems are due to poor drainage, fouled ballast, subgrade failure or deformation, or longitudinal variation of conditions.In the second area of application, GPR provides the ability to survey many kilometres of track and provide a relative measure of maintenance priority using performance indices. Finally, GPR can be used to monitor chronic sites regularly and to observe the effectiveness of remedial treatment.A common substructure problem where heavy axleloads are the norm is poor drainage caused by subgrade failure or deformation. This condition is illustrated in Fig 1, which shows the typical ‘bathtub’ condition that develops from subgrade deformation. The current GPR system has antennae suspended above the ends and middle of the sleepers, which enables the equipment to detect lateral variations of the subgrade surface.Fig 2 provides an example of results obtained by GPR along a section of track approximately 150m long. A single-channel GPR image is shown, together with photos of the cross-trenches (test pit excavations) that were excavated for calibration to show the layers and composition of the substructure.Fig 3 shows the actual longitudinal scans for approximately 250 m of track with the digitised subgrade layer superimposed on the images for emphasis. The white arrows indicate the distance from the datum to the top of the subgrade surface. Locations A and B are where the subgrade soil has deformed upwards, creating a situation similar to that shown in Fig 1. The results shown in Fig 3 indicate that the root cause of the problem is associated with the bathtub effect of deforming subgrade, and now can be used to prescribe the exact locations for remedial treatment.The ability of the GPR system to travel at relatively high speeds and capture nearly continuous information on subsurface condition makes it an invaluable tool for use in track maintenance management. In fact, GPR data is already being used to derive quantitative indices of track substructure condition precisely for this purpose. These indices are based on measurements such as layer contours, moisture content in the different substructure layers and the amount of fouling material in the ballast. General indices of track substructure condition can be based simply on the longitudinal and lateral variation of layers, water and composition, as these variations often result in track stiffness variations, which translate into rough track.From GPR data to informationIn developing wide-area indices for robust application, GPR information needs to be calibrated to the substructure characteristics and must be correlated with other measurements such as track geometry, right-of-way features, track stiffness and maintenance records. The Optram Right-of-Way Infrastructure Management (ORIM) database and viewer (www.optram.com) is being used to help correlate the substructure characteristics derived from GPR with these other condition indicators. ORIM allows the relationship of GPR data to track condition and features to be seen, and helps the user to visualise the substructure effect on geometry trends and maintenance effort. It also analyses the integrated data and generates user-defined indices for prioritisation of inspection and maintenance work.An example of a condition index based on GPR information is depicted in the ORIM screen grab in Fig 4. This shows two parallel longitudinal GPR profiles along a 2·4 km section of main line with heavy freight traffic. The images, shown with digitised layer boundaries, indicate ballast pockets that have developed in an embankment under the impact of heavy axleloads.Ballast pockets are load-induced depressions in the subgrade surface directly under the sleeper. A Ballast Pocket Index was produced to indicate where the ballast pocket condition has developed. Fig 4 shows the BPI matched with the track layout and track geometry data, and careful examination of the illustration reveals that many of the geometry rough spots are being driven by the ballast pocket problem.A common remedy to minimise the continued development of a ballast pocket is to excavate a cross-drain – essentially a ballast-filled trench – perpendicular to the track. GPR can delineate the bottom of the pockets to ensure that lateral drainage is provided in the most effective location, generally the lowest point of the ballast pocket.The potential for GPR to improve substructure maintenance management on North American railways is quickly being realised. Specifications are now being developed for next-generation equipment to be installed on purpose-built recording cars able to survey substructure condition at up to 100 km/h. These vehicles are still planned to be road-railers, but the ultimate goal of railroads like BNSF and the FRA is to fit GPR on rail-based track geometry vehicles, so that routine substructure measurements can be made as frequently as the track geometry is assessed. Construction of the next-generation vehicles may begin as soon as early summer 2005 and, subject to certification by the Federal Communication Commission, the vehicles could be in use on US railways by the end of 2005. Les sollicitations des plateformes conduisent au développement du GPRSur les réseaux nord-américains, des charges par essieu plus élevées, un trafic en hausse et la rationalisation placent les sollicitations des plateformes de voies à un niveau jamais atteint. Pour y répondre, l’industrie met au point des consignes techniques plus efficaces de maintenance des structures sous-voies, qui incluent l’utilisation du radar à pénétration dans le sol (GPR). Des essais sur plus de 200 km de voies ont démontré que les évaluations données par le GPR peuvent être utilisées afin de produire des indices destinés au management de l’entretien des voies. Un système prototype, à base de trois ensembles d’antennes en forme de corne, de 1 GHz, fonctionnant avec lame d’air entre antenne et sol, montés sur un véhicule rail-route, analyse déjà les dessous de la voie, à la fois au niveau des extrémités des traverses et tout le long de l’axe de la voie, tandis que des spécifications sont élaborées pour une nouvelle génération de GPR à installer sur des voitures travaillant à 100 km/h. Anforderungen an den Unterbau treiben GPR-Entwicklung voranH”here Achslasten, höheres Verkehrsaufkommen und Rationalisierungen beim Streckennetz bringen unvorhergesehene Anforderungen auf den Gleis-Unterbau bei nordamerikanischen Bahnen. Als Antwort darauf entwickelt die Industrie leistungsfähigere Unterbau-Management-Techniken, welche unter anderem auch den Einsatz von Erdreich-penetrierendem Radar (GPR) umfassen. Versuche auf mehr als 200 km Streckengleis haben gezeigt, dass eine Vermessung mit GPR zur Erzeugung quantitativer Richtgrössen für den Gleisunterhalt herbeigezogen werden kann. Ein Prototypsystem, welches aus drei auf einem Hybridfahrzeug montierten Horn-Antennen im 1 GHz-Bereich besteht, wird bereits zur Untersuchung des Bereiches unterhalb des Gleises an den Enden der Schwellen und in der Gleismitte eingesetzt. Zudem werden die Spezifikationen für eine neue Generation von GPR erarbeitet, welche auf bis zu 100 km/h schnellen Messwagen montiert sein werden. El uso de la plataforma impulsa el desarrollo de GPRLas cargas por eje cada vez mayores, el aumento del tráfico y la racionalización de las rutas están generando exigencias sin precedentes en la plataforma de los ferrocarriles norteamericanos. Para darles respuesta, la industria está desarrollando técnicas más efectivas para la gestión del mantenimiento de la plataforma que incluyen la utilización del georadar (GPR). Las pruebas realizadas en más de 200 km de vías han demostrado que las evaluaciones con GPR sirven para producir índices cuantitativos que luego se pueden utilizar en la gestión del mantenimiento de la vía. Un prototipo de sistema, consistente en tres grupos de antenas de bocina aéreas de 1 GHz montados en un vehículo vía-carretera, examina ya el terreno por debajo de la vía en los dos extremos de las traviesas y a lo largo del eje de la vía, al tiempo que se están redactando las especificaciones de una nueva generación de GPR que se adaptará a coches de auscultación que operarán hasta a 100 km/h.center_img Prototype road-rail vehicle with an array of three GPR units allowing examination of the substructure beneath both sides and the centreline of the trackFig 1. Poor drainage is a common problem on heavy-haul lines with high axleloads. The typical bathtub shape of the ballast develops from subgrade deformation. L, C and R represent the position of the GPR antennae over the left, centre and right of the trackFig 2. The results of a GPR test over a 150 m section of track with a single-channel image. The pictures to the left and right show cross-trenches excavated for calibration purposes which reveal the layers and composition of the substructureFig 3. Longitudinal scans for a 250 m section of track with the digitised subgrade layer superimposed on the images. The arrows indicate the distance from the datum to the surface of the subgradeFig 4. Example of a condition index from GPR data shown in a screen grab from the Optram Right-of-Way Maintenance Management database. It relates track geometry to subgrade condition along a 2·4 km section of a heavy-tonnage route SummariesDemands on subgrade drive GPR developmentHigher axleloads, rising traffic and route rationalisation are placing unprecedented demands on the track substructure of North American railways. In response, the industry is developing more effective substructure maintenance management techniques that include the use of ground-penetrating radar (GPR). Tests on more than 200 km of track have demonstrated that GPR assessment can be used to produce quantitative indices for use in managing track maintenance. A prototype system consisting of three sets of 1 GHz air-launched horn antennae mounted on a road-rail vehicle is already surveying below the track at both sleeper ends and along the track centreline, while specifications are being drawn-up for a new generation of GPR to be fitted on purpose-built recording cars operating at up to 100 km/h.last_img read more

Spain opens up

first_imgAS WELL AS separating infrastructure authority ADIF from train operator Renfe Operadora with effect from January 1, three decrees approved by the cabinet on December 30 transposed EU directives 2001/12, 13 and 14 into Spanish law. Since January 1 routes within Spain forming part of the Trans-European Rail Freight Network have been open to competition, and it is expected that the whole of the national network to be defined by the Ministry of Development will be available to freight operators before January 2006. Renfe Operadora remains sole passenger operator until at least 2010, although the European Commission’s latest proposals on liberalising passenger services are due to be debated this year. Further legislation will set out conditions for obtaining train paths which are now administered by ADIF. A Railway Regulation Committee will mediate in any disputes, as well as issuing licences and safety certificates to other operators. nlast_img read more