Technical Areas

Tracks

Train circulation is determined by the features of the track, among other things; its quality, materials, curve radii, etc. Because of this one of our goals is to provide the best possible infrastructures to our clients with the goal, in some cases, of increasing their traffic capacity (like in Cercanías, the local trains), or increasing commercial speeds to 200/220 km/h in others, as well as guaranteeing, above all, appropriate levels of safety, reliability and availability.

The increase in speed up to 200 km/h involves the development of a replacement plan with state-of-the-art switches. This has allowed notably higher speeds when passing stations, which has lead us to change 1,200 switches.

Type B double jointed sleepers have been designed and implemented. Highly insulated, they permit the suppression of track joints and of related expansion devices, improving our clients’ comfort and our maintenance tasks.

For the sake of optimum maintenance, we have a car for geometric inspection of the tracks, for both Renfe and UIC gauges, which can be operated at speeds of up to 200 km./h, taking measurements with long and short waves of all the parameters: rail wear, rail corrugation, track gradients, accelerations, etc.

There also exists an ultrasonic rail inspection car with a computerized system for the detection of internal defects in the rails. We are also advancing in the improvement of aluminothermic (thermite) rail welding by means of appropriate quality checks.

Through computers we have contributed diverse applications that we have developed ourselves for the handling of traffic on tracks with minimum radii routes, the search for graphic information, or the consultation of Renfe Track Regulations through local networks, among others.

Innovation

In the last few years a system that reduces wear on the rails on track curves has been developed. We are also implementing new models of “tracks on slabs” without ballast, using precast slabs of antivibratory concrete, including bypasses on concrete sleepers, which minimize noise and vibrations.

Another significant advance has been the improvement in metal bridges without ballast by means of the implementation of new technologies that permit independent movement of the track and the bridge through brake and thermal expansion actions. This achieves an increase in speed up to 160 km./h. All of this also contributes to important cost reductions.

As to the fasteners that hold the rails to the sleepers, over the course of the last ten years we have worked on improving their features, price, duration, etc., achieving improvements in their use on any type of sleeper (A2) or on RS-type sleepers (J2, fasteners patented by us.) A new expansion device has also been designed, and the insulated track joints have been improved, increasing their reliability and useful life.

Currently we are finalizing the technical solutions for eliminating track joints on wooden sleepers, as well as the tests on the new fixed buffer stops with hydrodynamic buffers that have a high absorption capacity.