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Management of rail stress in a modern railway maintenance infrastructure
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by I Hoather, Nirmal Mandal
Aurizon is Australia’s largest rail freight operator with over 150 years of experience. Each day the company is responsible for the movement of about 700,000 tonnes of coal, iron ore and other freight across Australia. Among the challenges, track buckling has been a major hurdle to overcome. Compressive stress in the hot weather periods has historically caused rails to misalign, causing delays to services, reputational impact on the coal business, and significant financial stresses on the track maintainer and budget holder. Ultimately, in a number of cases, it has also caused tracks to buckle under trains and been the direct cause of train derailments. The use in the field of using an artificial thermal method of heating rail upon installation has been deemed as a major factor and a root cause of future problems occurring.Track buckling and heat related track misalignments over the last five years have shown a significant increase. Goals are to manage and control the causes of track buckling with the aim of delivering zero train derailments. This paper explains the basic fundamentals of how to manage rail stress in a modern railway infrastructure, the consequences of not managing rail stress in extreme temperatures, and simple processes required to re-stress rails, it discusses easy methods to have knowledge of problem locations that require speed restrictions to be imposed.