Wheel-Rail Conditioning to avoid slippery tracks implemented by NS and ProRail

In the Netherlands more trains are being equipped with a solution to make tracks less slippery: Wheel-Rail Conditioning. Railway operator NS and rail infrastructure manager ProRail will test the system on the main railway network after previous trials on regional lines. 

In Autumn, every year the same problem occurs: slippery railway tracks, notably because of fallen leaves. The Wheel-Rail Conditioning system offers a solution. The system applies a greasy substance between the rails and the train’s wheels. Oddly enough, the greasy solution makes the tracks less slippery, because dirt doesn’t attach to the tracks as easily.

Flirt passenger trains will spread the substance out over the railway network. 58 of these trains will have the system on board. Alongside with avoiding slippery the system also reduces noise. A train equipped with WRC squeals and screeches less when it negotiates a curve. Also, the tracks suffer less abrasion over time. When railway tracks are slippery train drivers need to be more cautious. Trains need to accelerate slower and break more careful than usual, which can cause delay.

Test

“With an earlier test with the substance on regional lines the trains had indeed less problems with slipping when braking and accelerating”, said a spokesperson of NS. “Now we want to know whether is also works on a bigger scale on the main railway network where freight trains, intercity’s and high-speed trains drive”

Author: Esther Geerts

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