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Projects driving tram-train safety and innovation

25 Oct 2023

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The organisation responsible for tramway safety is set to play a leading role in the development of new standards for future tram-train projects.

The Light Rail Safety and Standards Board is working in partnership with the RSSB, industry experts, academics, statutory organisations and Network Rail to research and develop the optimum wheel/rail profile for proposed routes that will see trams operate on mainline tracks.

At the same time, it is working with similar partners to draw up a comprehensive best practice guide that aims to reduce the costs of future projects and the time it takes to deliver them.

This will enable rail services to be extended on-street through city centres to centrally located stops and offer higher frequency services, increasing personal mobility and improving access to key city centre activity sites.

Craig O’Brien, Head of Engineering and Safety Innovation at the LRSSB, explained: “With buy-in from experts in both light and heavy rail, these projects will help tram-train project teams to safely address difficult interface issues.

“An effective wheel/rail interface is critical to the safe operation of vehicles over two types of network, and previous research has suggested that a hybrid wheel profile alone is not a solution.

“The objective of this research is to better understand the development of an optimum hybrid wheel profile and appropriate switch and crossing standard design modifications for tram-train operation in the UK that reduce overall project design costs and risk.”

This should pave the way for many future collaborations between LRSSB and RSSB as both organisations look to identify opportunities to improve both sectors.

Over the past year, the LRSSB has also worked with Network Rail and Transport for Wales on the development of a signalling system for the tram-train system under construction in Cardiff.

“This valuable experience will also feed into the best practice guide that will have a vital role to play in the development of an increasingly attractive way to improve urban connectivity, setting clear standards for the design of both infrastructure and vehicles,” Craig added.

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