Trackwork


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


As a result of exciting technological developments in the field of materials and processing, Italferr has been able to improve trackwork performance standards.
Traditional basic rail lengths of 36 m per track have been upgraded into one single rail length measuring 108 m, leading to a huge overall reduction in rail welding operations in the construction phase, while electrical welding techniques have led to a marked improvement in mechanical joint performance. 
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 frame stability.
However, the track components that feature the most significant changes are the points: on High Speed lines all switches have moveable point frogs, thus completely eliminating the dangerous space in the frog area and creating a continuous rail level for both directions; this set-up means that the trains run on the right alignment even at speeds in excess of 300 km/h and on switched paths at top speeds of 160 km/h.
The ballast used complies with the European supply standards. In the design and construction of the standard cross section of High Speed track ballast, the aerodynamic effects of the trains running by at high speeds has been taken into consideration.
Regarding construction methods, important areas include track laying based on absolute coordinates, the placing of the first bed of crushed rock and the dynamic compaction of the track ballast. All these operations actively contribute to building a track within the limited construction tolerances on specific geometric features 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 perfectly adapt to extreme conditions of temperature and humidity.
To mention but a few:
• the use of much harder than standard tracks (R260). The use of tracks with Brinell scale hardness equal to at least R350HT, which have also been heat-treated for added resistance and durability – for both side wear of the rail head and RCF (rolling contact fatigue). This means that the track retains its shape and size more effectively, which is of critical importance in the case of High Speed operations;
• the use of a “heaped ballast shoulder” profile, to achieve extra side track resistance and reduce instability margins;
• the use of factory-made prestressed reinforced concrete sleepers measuring 260 cm in length and a minimum below-track height of 24 cm, to withstand heavy loads. The use of a concrete mix especially designed to resist high temperatures;
• protection of 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 minimise ballast wear (subjected to high loads) when in contact with a rigid underfloor.
Moreover, much attention has been given to the use of “slab tracks”, which could be a valid alternative to ballasted trackworks because not affected by fouling.