The mini symposium “Sustainable switch” that took place at ProRail central office in Utrecht on May 30, 2018 successfully concluded four years of intensive work. Four PhD students, Ankit Kumar, Omid Hajizad, Matthijs Oomen  and Martin Hiensch  from TU Delft and Twente universities worked together on a scientifically challenging and industry and society relevant topic on how to make the rail and in particular railway common crossings as resistant as possible to development of defects due to high impact loading from the wheels of the trains. The program is material-centric with focus on understanding the material behaviour, wear and damage that can be related to the impact character of the loading.

Ivan Shevtsov from ProRail says:

“We are happy with the results of the “Sustainable switch” program. They give us scientific background to make right choices and to justify our decisions ultimately helping us to achieve the ambition of having safe, sustainable, reliable and punctual railway”.

The Dutch rail infra manager ProRail is responsible for the Dutch network in three main aspects: building, maintenance and safety. The company ensures the daily safe transport of more than 1 million passengers and 100.000 tonnes of products. Therefore, permanent infrastructural integrity is of crucial importance to guarantee disruption-free operations. Switches are the key elements in this regard, as their malfunction has a high impact on the availability of the rail network.

The research program was organized by M2i and funded by FOM-NWO, M2i-EZ and ProRail. Industrial companies Tata Steel, SKF, ID2 and Max Plank research institute actively participated on the program to make it successful.