A series of two seminars for the European project INNOTRACK was held in Brussels and Paris on 14 and 15 October respectively.
The first day, held at the Infrabel offices in Brussels, focused on the work of sub-packages 3 and 4: switches and crossings and rails and welding. Paul Godart (Infrabel) opened the meeting by extending a warm welcome to the 70 participants and gave an introductory presentation on the role of Infrabel within SNCB Group. INNOTRACK Project Manager Björn Paulsson (UIC) followed by giving a general summary of the progress made to date within the project. Currently in its third year, INNOTRACK has a total of 36 partners from 11 countries, made up of infrastructure managers, the supply industry, contractors, academics and associations. Mr Paulsson spoke briefly on the dissemination process: as the project draws to a close the dissemination of material will gradually become more predominant. Thus far 139 deliverables have been produced, 15 of which will be used as guidelines and translated into French and German versions as well as the original English. He ended by briefly reminding participants of the list of events for late 2009 and 2010, in particular the General Assembly on 19 January, which will focus, among others, on asset management, economic impact, cost drivers, LCC, RAMS and logistics. The day’s meeting included presentations by 14 guest speakers, composed mainly of infrastructure managers and the railway industry, on topics relating to rail degradation, welding procedures, switches and crossings, LCC and RAMS.
The following day (15 October), a second INNOTRACK seminar focusing on sub-package 2 (substructure) was held at UIC, Paris, attracting for the most part a different set of participants to the day before. Gerard Dalton (UIC Infrastructure Director) gave a brief welcome to the 70 attendees. In his speech he highlighted the importance of European projects such as INNOTRACK, describing it as a “flag bearer” and spoke of the need to obtain usable material and deliverables from the project.
17 speakers had been invited to deliver presentations throughout the day on, among others, the onset of settlement, track stiffness, sub-grade assessment, superstructure innovations, LCC and RAMS. A poster session was held during the morning coffee break where participants could view and discuss the work carried out by the various railway companies. Running parallel to the poster session was a demonstration of a database developed by the University of Karlsruhe, designed for SP2 members to store useful data from the project. Also incorporated into the agenda were discussion slots whereby participants had the opportunity to ask questions and debate with the speakers the topics that had been presented. Open discussions were held throughout the day’s meeting on sub-grade assessment and reinforcement, superstructure innovations, LCC and RAMS.
The meeting drew to a close with a general discussion on life cycle costs followed by a concluding summary by SP2 leader Florence Margiocchi (SNCF). In her speech she mentioned the need to adopt different approaches and to further test the models that had been described during the seminar. The participants were strongly encouraged to make full use of the database as well as the results. Ms. Margiocchi ended by extending her warm thanks to the attendees for their participation, the SP2 partners for the high quality of their work, and to Björn Paulsson for leading the project.
The next INNOTRACK General Assembly is due to be held on 19 January 2010 at UIC, Paris.