$4m funding injection for automated rail project

By on 15 September, 2020

Dr. Philip Commins of the Facility for Intelligent Fabrication (FIF) in UOW’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences. Image provided.

The University of Wollongong (UOW) has secured $1.5 million in federal funds for a research rpoject to improve safety of heavy haul and high speed rail.

The High Output, Low Cost Automated Embedded Rail Track (ERT) project received the grant through the Cooperative Research Centres Projects scheme, bringing the total value of the project to $4 million, according to UOW.

The project aims to develop automated means to quickly deploy ERT, a new technology which uses a continuously laid concrete bed with only four components per metre, relative to ballast track technology, which can have up to 100, according to information released by UOW.

Currently, the time required to lay ERT is considerably higher than ballast track, which the new partnership aims to address with industry 4.0 processes to reduce deployment time.

Project leader Dr. Philip Commins said ERT had many safety benefits, such as reduced track buckling and fewer derailments, but also increased track use by up to 30 per cent.

“An ERT system provides greater safety, performance and availability, with lower maintenance and reduced whole life costs,” Dr. Commins said.

“As Australia’s plans are well advanced for many major rail infrastructure projects, the need for improved safety in heavy haul and high speed rail is a high priority.

“This project is a key part of the chain to provide an economic alternative to traditional rail systems.”

The project is led by Downer, with UOW the lead research organisation and other partners ERT, University of Technology Sydney and Antoun Civil.

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