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Title: Rethinking rail track switches for fault tolerance and enhanced performance
Authors: Harrison, Tim J.
Bemment, Samuel D.
Ebinger, Emma
Goodall, Roger M.
Ward, Christopher P.
Dixon, Roger
Keywords: Track switch
Multi-channel redundancy
Fault tolerance
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: © IFAC (International Federation of Automatic Control). Published by Elsevier
Citation: HARRISON, T. ... et al., 2016. Rethinking rail track switches for fault tolerance and enhanced performance. IFAC-Papers OnLine, 49(21), pp. 260-266.
Abstract: Railway track switches, commonly referred to as ‘turnouts’ or ‘points,’ are a necessary element of any rail network. However, they often prove to be performance-limiting elements of networks. A novel concept for rail track switching has been developed as part of a UK research project with substantial industrial input. The concept is currently at the demonstrator phase, with a scale (384 mm) gauge unit currently operational in a laboratory. Details of the novel arrangement and concept are provided herein. This concept is considered as an advance on the state of the art. This paper also presents the work that took place to develop the concept. Novel contributions include the establishment of a formal set of functional requirements for railway track switching solutions, and a demonstration that the current solutions do not fully meet these requirements. The novel design meets the set of functional requirements for track switching solutions, in addition to offering several features that the current designs are unable to offer, in particular to enable multi-channel actuation and rail locking, and provide a degree of fault tolerance. This paper describes the design and operation of this switching concept, from requirements capture and solution generation through to the construction of the laboratory demonstrator. The novel concept is contrasted with the design and operation of the ‘traditional’ switch design. Conclusions to the work show that the novel concept meets all the functional requirements whilst exceeding the capabilities of the existing designs in most non-functional requirement areas.
Description: This paper was accepted for publication in the journal IFAC-Papers OnLine and the definitive published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ifacol.2016.10.564
Sponsor: The authors acknowledge the financial support provided by the United Kingdom EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) and the United Kingdom RSSB (Railway Safety and Standards Board) in grant number EP/I010823/1, for the project REPOINT: Redundantly engineered points for enhanced reliability and capacity of railway track switching. The authors also acknowledge the support of the UKs Future Railway, for providing funding towards concept demonstrator design and construction (http://www.futurerailway.org/).
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1016/j.ifacol.2016.10.564
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/21114
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ifacol.2016.10.564
ISSN: 1474-6670
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering)

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