The traditional railway superstructure layout has been upgraded with newly developed trackwork components and laying methods.

As a result of technological developments in the field of materials, Italferr has been able to improve trackwork performance standards.
Traditional rails with length of 36 m have been upgraded into one single rail of 108 m, leading to a huge overall reduction in rail welding operations during the construction phase. The mechanical characteristics of the welded joints have been improved thanks to better electrical welding techniques.
Prestressed concrete sleepers have also grown in size, from the previous length of 2.30 m to 2.60 m, featuring an over 50% increase in mass. These new sleepers provide more weight per unit of length, thus ensuring improved track lateral stability.
Very high improvements have been obtained also for track equipment: on High Speed lines all turnouts have moveable point crossings, thus completely eliminating the diamond gap in the crossing area and creating a continuous rolling surface for both directions; this means that the trains can run at 300 km/h on the straight track and up to 160 km/h on the diverging track.
The ballast characteristics complies with the European standards. In the design and construction of the standard cross section of High Speed track, the aerodynamic effects of the trains running at high speed has been taken into consideration to avoid the so called “ballast flying” effect.
A very important improvement in the field of track construction and maintenance is the track laying based on absolute coordinates and the dynamic compaction of the ballast. All these operations actively contribute to build a track within the strict construction tolerances for lines of up to 300 km/h.
Thanks to Italferr's considerable experience abroad, particularly in desert conditions, we have been able to develop high-performing solutions, which can adapt to extreme conditions of temperature, humidity and presence of sand. For example:
  • the use of harder and heat treated rails (R350HT Brinnel Hardness), instead of standard R260 hardness. This improves both the resistance of the rail head against the wear, and the RCF (rolling contact fatigue). This means also a higher durability of track geometry, which is of critical importance in the case of High Speed operations;
  • the use of a “heaped ballast shoulder” profile, to achieve extra lateral track resistance and prevent track instability due to high temperatures;
  • the use of prestressed reinforced concrete sleepers measuring 260 cm in length and a minimum height of 24 cm, to withstand heavy loads. The use of a concrete mix especially designed to resist at high temperatures;
  • rail fastenings with a corrosion protection layer;
  • the possible use of USPs (under sleeper pads) for  ballasted tracks in tunnels or on viaducts, in order to minimize ballast wear (subjected to high loads) when in contact with a rigid underfloor.
  • Moreover, high attention has been given to the use of “slab tracks”, which could be a valid alternative to ballasted trackworks because they are not affected by sand pollution.