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Europe's railway networks have dedicated teams devoted to checking track safety, inspecting the metal for any cracks or defects that could cause problems. If a track needs fixing, it is often welded on-site. But for all their expertise, the track inspectors have few tools to check whether the resulting welds are strong enough. Now, however, researchers have built a new tool to provide an easy yet reliable ultrasonic test of track welds, adding a much-needed layer of safety to the rail network.
Published: 23 May 2013
When Europe's rail pioneers created the first steam engines some two centuries ago, they gave little thought to whether their inventions might be used in other countries: while their ingenuity helped transform travel, they never got round to setting uniform rail technologies across the continent.
Published: 13 May 2013
Used all over the world to ship goods stamped with "Made in ", containers are at the very heart of global trade. They have been around since the 1950s and have literally revolutionised the way we manufacture, trade and consume goods.
Published: 26 March 2013
As the group of components that generates power for a locomotive, the powertrain which includes the transmission, drive shafts, and differentials is the motor of the railways. It needs to be watched and maintained carefully to ensure every aspect is safe and in proper working order. But this is a tough task: there are few diagnostic tools available to check the reliability of powertrains, so maintenance is either done after a component fails (with all the associated risks to the service), or through a systematic yet indiscriminate replacement of key parts.
Published: 13 March 2013
At first sight, train drivers' cabs and Formula 1 cars may not seem to have much in common. But a research project funded by the European Commission has led to a potential breakthrough for the rail industry - by adapting technology most commonly found in high performance racing cars. The results promise to provide the rail industry with trains that are more environmentally-friendly, easier and cheaper to produce, and less costly for rail companies in terms of track maintenance. An all round win-win situation.
Published: 30 August 2012
Published: 6 June 2012
Due to the technical history of railway use in Europe, there lies a fundamental problem in the integration of continental travel. While the railway infrastructure was being established in Europe, the train was an important tool of military. This led to intentional differences in regulations, signals, track gauges and so forth between the European countries which still exist today. For example, a German train has the accelerator handle on the left and the brake on the right, while a French train is the other way round. The solution is already being developed: a common European train for a continental railway.
NB: This article is more than 4 years old so the information may not be up to date.
Published: 28 February 2008