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Track Geometry


Over the last 150 years railway track has progressively developed into a very refined transport technology. But for it to provide a very refined performance, the track needs to be viewed in terms of the dynamic conditions under which it is used.
The passage of trains imparts not only static loads but also dynamic loads. The extent of this loading is dependent on characteristics of the track, the vehicles making up the train and how they all interact.
Combined with these conditions are the climatic conditions producing temperature dependent changes in stress in the rails. It is an awareness of this dynamic environment which underpins the policies and strategies of European railway operators.

 Minimising the geometrical errors in the track at an early stage enables the passage of trains at the same speed, but without much of the dynamic load on the track and the train.
 Together with a track structure of uniform adequate strength, this approach provides a track of greater durability and less sensitivity to the passage of trains and climatic conditions.
 Deterioration of the track is slowed, maintenance costs are less and the level of service for the passenger in the form of comfort and ease of movement about the train is higher.

By providing positional stability, the temperature dependent changes in stress are controllable. The maintenance requirements are very much more predictable and the track very much more sustainable.
A widening trend towards higher speeds in recent years is still further elevating the importance of track geometry condition in the strategic maintenance plans of railways.

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