COMSA, a leader in rail innovation

The VIII International Conference on Engineering for High Speed, an annual event organised by the Fundación Caminos de Hierro, took place in Cordoba between 25 and 27 June.  In this year’s edition, the conference focussed on the 50 years of evolution (1964-2014) of the high-speed networks, from the Shinkansen (Japanese high-speed railway) to today’s modern networks.

COMSA took a leading part in the seminar on railway R & D & i, where the most noteworthy technological innovations were analysed. The head of R & D & i in the area of Infrastructure at COMSA EMTE, Joan Peset, gave a presentation on new high-performance sustainable materials for the railway industry. The session also involved representatives from Ineco, Icyfsa and the Jaume I-UPV University.

Peset introduced a new recycled aggregate obtained from black electric arc furnace steel slag (EAFS) which complies with the legislation for the bedding and shape layers of railway lines. This project, called ‘Gain’, represents an improvement on the technical characteristics of tracks with conventional aggregate and reduces the use of natural aggregate, minimising the environmental impact of quarrying.

The COMSA representative also introduced the audience to the ‘Neoballast’ project, which involves an innovative treatment of ballast to increase durability and reduce operating and maintenance costs. ‘Neoballast’ improves the performance of the ballast in terms of its behaviour when subjected to noise and vibration and minimises the problem of shortage of materials with suitable characteristics for use as ballast. Joan Peset concluded his presentation by talking about the ‘HD Ballast’ project, whose mission is to develop a heavy ballast, based on the design of concrete using high density recycled waste. This innovative approach eliminates the problem of flying ballast on high-speed lines and puts waste to good use.

The conference also featured activities such as a round table discussion on new technologies and innovative solutions and a technical session co-organised with the UIC on the 50th world anniversary of high-speed rail. The meeting was attended by leading companies and institutions in the sector such as: Adif, UIC, SNCF, Renfe, the University of Lyon, CEDEX, the Ministry of Development and the Railways Technical Research Institute of Japan, among others.

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