Home » Top 5 Challenges for Railway Track Engineers in 2023
(July 11, 2023)

Top 5 Challenges for railway track engineers in 2023

Engineering challenges differ depending on the sector, here we address some of those faced by railway track engineers, which includes some resolutions featuring a Geobear geopolymer approach.

  1. Ageing Infrastructure: One of the biggest challenges facing railway track asset managers in the UK is the ageing infrastructure. Much of the railway infrastructure in the UK was built in the Victorian era and has not been updated or replaced in many decades. This leads to a higher risk of failures and the need for more frequent maintenance and repairs. Some options to address those challenges include:
  • Regular inspections and condition assessments to identify areas of deterioration or potential failures.
  • Implementing a proactive maintenance approach, such as predictive maintenance techniques, to address issues before they become critical.
  • Utilizing geopolymer injection for stabilizing and strengthening weak or deteriorated sections of track foundations, which can extend the lifespan of the infrastructure.

 

  1. Increased demand: The demand for rail transportation in the UK has been increasing in recent years, putting additional strain on the existing railway infrastructure. This leads to a higher need for maintenance and upgrades, which can be costly and time-consuming. Some options to tackle these issues include:
  • Investing in capacity expansion projects, such as new tracks or additional lines, to accommodate the growing demand.
  • Employing efficient scheduling and operational strategies to maximize the utilisation of existing infrastructure.
  • Using geopolymer injection for rapid track repairs, minimizing downtime and disruptions caused by maintenance and repairs.

 

  1. Climate change and extreme weather: Climate change is causing more extreme weather events, such as floods, landslides, and storms, which can damage railway infrastructure and disrupt services. Railway track asset managers must be prepared to deal with these events and take measures to prevent or mitigate the damage. Options include: 
  • Conducting vulnerability assessments to identify areas susceptible to climate-related damage and taking preventive measures, such as reinforcing embankments or installing drainage systems. 
  • Implementing weather monitoring systems to detect and respond to extreme weather events in real-time. 
  • Employing geopolymer injection techniques to stabilise track foundations and mitigate the effects of soil erosion caused by heavy rainfall or flooding.

 

  1. Funding: Adequate funding is essential for maintaining and upgrading railway infrastructure. Selecting and prioritising network upgrades and renewals is key. Funding will undoubtedly mean some schemes are not selected, in order to aid prioritisation options include:
  • Demonstrating the long-term economic benefits of infrastructure investments to policymakers and stakeholders.
  • Considering the social and environmental benefits of maintenance and upgrades
  • Utilising cost-effective solutions like geopolymer injection for repairs and maintenance, which can offer savings compared to traditional methods.

 

  1. Safety: Safety is a top priority for railway track asset managers in the UK. They must ensure that the railway infrastructure is safe for passengers, workers, and the environment. This involves regular inspections, maintenance, and upgrades, as well as compliance with safety regulations and standards. 
  • Regular track inspections and maintenance to identify and address safety hazards promptly.
  • Adhering to strict safety regulations and standards, including track geometry, signalling, and electrical safety.
  • Implementing geopolymer injection to stabilise and strengthen track foundations, reducing the risk of track failures and enhancing overall safety.

 

To learn more about Geobear solutions for railway track and structures, please contact us.

 

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