The construction of slab tracks without reinforcement was standardised in 2017. RUBI Railtec and Pernstich Engineers are part of a pioneering project in Israel.
Ballastless tracks are on the rise. More and more railway infrastructure operators prefer the higher investments to the intensive maintenance of ballasted tracks. At SBB, the principle of ‘slab track on solid surfaces’ seems to be gaining acceptance—ballast is no longer used in tunnels, on overpasses and in underpasses.
In addition, SBB renovated its oldest slab track in the Heitersberg tunnel from 2013 to 2016 (see the press release in German). This involved replacing rails, sleeper blocks, inserts and rubber shoes. Apart from maintenance and renewal of the rails, this was the first work on the track since the tunnel was commissioned in 1975. The concrete slab was in good condition, which confirms the longevity of the system.
For light-rail vehicles and trams, ballastless tracks have always been standard. Because the concrete slab forms part of the road surface, it is usually reinforced.
Since 2017, the standard EN 16432 (parts 1 to 3 and others) regulates the use of slab tracks without reinforcement in all environments. Together with the extensive experience of RUBI Railtec and Pernstich Engineers with slab tracks, the new standard was another reason why we proposed a ballastless track without reinforcement for the Green Line project in Jerusalem. There were essentially three arguments that convinced the client.
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