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Belgian rail operator Infrabel tests the NRG joint

16 August 2017 | 

The first NRG joints have been installed in the Belgian railway network. The Belgian rail operator Infrabel wants to test the NRG joint, because the current insulated rail joints in Belgium require a lot of maintenance and replacement. We would therefore like to help Infrabel with this newest generation of insulated rail joint.

Robust and reliable part of train detection system

Last Monday the first 2 NRG joints were placed on the Belgian track at the Belgian town of Hoeselt. An insulated rail joint forms part of the train detection system and is used to divide the track into sections. These are linked to the central security system. The rail, to which the insulated rail joint is attached, has a double function. Apart from carrying and guiding the train, it also serves as a conductor of signals and return currents.

voestalpine Railpro has been given the green light by Belgian rail operator Infrabel to deliver 4 NRG joint that will serve as a test. The first 2 have been implemented. The other 2 will be placed during the weekend of the 27th of August. After this, the 4 NRG joints will be measured every 3 months for a whole year. There is the possibility that Infrabel will switch to our insulated rail joint after the period of a year for the whole of the Belgian railway network!

Impressive results

The high quality of the NRG joint has been demonstrated convincingly by the results of multiple extensive tests, known to be the toughest in the world. These tests showed that the NRG joint can be exposed to long-lasting heavy forces, water, a variety of climatic conditions (ranging from -20 to +60 degrees) and to more than 10 million deflections of 3 mm with a force of 190 kN without becoming defect. Those deflections are especially interesting, because in practice, the track only makes a 1.2 mm deflection at an allowable load of 22.5-25 tons.

It should be noted that the Belgian rail network is built up differently with rails of the type 60E1R260 instead of the type 54E1R350, which are used in the Netherlands. These are just a bit higher and wider than the Dutch rails. Furthermore, Belgium also uses another rail fastening system called Pandrol instead of the SKL fastening system. The NRG joint can handle this perfectly, because it fits into the Belgian rail network extremely well, as shown in the pictures below!

We would like to thank Infrabel for the confidence in the NRG joint!