Researchers from Boston’s prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), together with researchers from Adif and The Ferrovial Agroman R&D Department and MIT, have started to implement the Rail To The Future project in several of Spain’s high speed network infrastructures.
This research project, which will run for two years, aims to identify the causes of premature deterioration of certain infrastructure components, ballast or sleeper to rail fastenings, thus improving high speed rail quality and combining new engineering solutions and predictive analysis techniques to reduce track maintenance costs and increase high speed competitiveness.
According to Laura Tordera, Head of Ferrovial’s R&D department:
“The need to develop increasingly sustainable infrastructures means that the rail systems of the future must be designed to be more hard-wearing and safer, to require less maintenance, and to have the capacity to manage large flows of information in real time.”
The project was born out of a perceived opportunity stemming from collaboration at the Málaga Centre for Rail Technology, where Ferrovial Agroman works together with Adif and other sector companies to develop ideas and projects for rail innovation.
In this context, Ferrovial Agroman decided to include this new line of research within the framework of its agreement with Boston’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an agreement which is in force since 2011 and which has been renewed for a further five years to support research projects aimed at developing the infrastructures of the future.
The first analysis on the ground are taking place this week at Adif’s assembly facilities in Requena and Antequera for the Madrid-Valencia and Córdoba-Málaga high speed lines respectively. Moreover, research staff have travelled to Madrid to verify data collected in Adif’s Seneca Laboratory Train, which is responsible for monitoring and analysis of Spain’s high-speed rail network.
The Rail of the future project seeks to contribute to the knowledge required for developing rail systems and technologies, and so determine the way in which we build, operate and maintain our railway networks in the future.