EUROPE: A three-year research project which aims to reduce the risk of broken passenger and freight axles 'to such a minimum level that it will no longer be considered as a significant threat to the safe operation of the European interoperable railway system' was launched in Brussels on November 23.

EURAXLES will look at ways of increasing corrosion protection, including the adhesion and sustainability of coatings. It will improve non-destructive inspection methods, allowing better informed decisions on maintenance and inspection intervals which will improve the competitiveness of the rail sector.

EURAXLES forms part of the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research. It is being co-ordinated by UNIFE, and brings together six axle manufacturers, four railway operators, two system integrators, three technology suppliers, five universities, two associations and a consultancy.

It is chaired by Dr Raimund Abele, CEO of wheelset manufacturer GHH Valdunes Group, who said it is 'one of the major topics on the research agenda in railway technology throughout Europe'.