EUROPE: A conference held at UIC’s Paris headquarters on December 4 marked the mid-point of the EU-funded Sustrail research programme to ‘integrate vehicle and track innovations for a more sustainable freight railway’.

Running to May 2015, Sustrail brings together a range of academic institutions, train operators, infrastructure managers and suppliers to examine the development of technologies, products and business models ‘to contribute to the rail freight system to allow it to regain position and market’.

Among the specifics being examined, there is a strong emphasis on examining rolling stock and infrastructure issues ‘holistically’, including ‘advanced vehicle dynamics’, traction and braking systems for ‘high speed, low impact’ freight operations, predictive maintenance tools for both vehicles and track, and ‘optimisation’ of ballasted trackforms to minimise degradation in track geometry.

Among the partners presenting updates on the research programme in Paris were Network Rail, Luleå Technical University, Mermec and Lucchini.