THE Infrastructure Commission of the International Union of Railways has published the final report of the Eurailinfra project, a study evaluating the capacity of major rail corridors in Europe. The study’s methodology will be used by the UIC to draw up a European Railway Infrastructure Master Plan.

Eurailinfra looked at market forecasts for future rail traffic, at projects in hand or planned that are intended to increase capacity, at the location of bottlenecks and proposals to eliminate them, and at ways of prioritising the various schemes. Six major corridors were selected as being representative of European operations, and the Eurailinfra methodology was applied to four: Rotterdam - Milano. München - Verona, Lille - Barcelona and Torino, and Stockholm - Budapest.

The study assumed that all major infrastructure investments planned at European level for 2015 would be implemented by that date. It nonetheless concluded that ’further harmonised investments at European level will clearly be needed’ in the first two corridors, while ’local-level enhancements’ will suffice for the second two.

The analysis led to a list of priorities being drawn up for Corridors I and II, with proposals to eliminate bottlenecks and increase the number of paths. For example, a bypass is proposed at Bellinzona in Switzerland on Corridor I at a cost of €500m; this would allow the number of paths between Biasca and Bellinzona to be increased from 320 to the market requirement of 376 paths in 2015.

  • The Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing & Research and the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne are to work with 30 other institutions from eight countries on the European Union’s four-year ’Sustainable Bridges’ project, expected to cost €10m. The project will draw up an inventory of railway bridges, and LMTR will lead a study to examine electronic monitoring of railway bridges with a view to identifying savings in renovation work. The Lausanne Institute will look in particular at the effects of fatigue on steel-reinforced concrete bridges.