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How does your stomach ache influence the quality of rails?

3 July 2019 | 

Imagine that you are on your way to Schiphol Airport to catch a very important flight. Perhaps you are running late or you are nervous for the meeting abroad. Whichever the case, your nerves have a strong affect your stomach. Seconds before arriving at station Sloterdijk, you quickly run to the train toilet for some stress relief. 

Happy and relieved, you resume your journey, unaware of the effect of your rush toilet visit on the tracks. Did you know that station track locations are more vulnerable to damage by drainage waste from train toilets than other areas in the rail infrastructure?

Human excrement is attacking our rails

This subject is indeed a bit unappealing. But let’s face it, human waste contains all sorts of substances, which are very disadvantageous for the rail infrastructure, speeding away under our trains. Acids and salts corrode the web and foot of the rail, a process so harmful that replacement of the rail is generally required earlier than expected or planned. A considerably shorter lifespan of the track is particularly a problem in station areas. ProRail decided to try to find a solution.

Rubber coating: the best defense

We were able to provide a great solution. A well-tried method and an already existing approach to a new problem: rubber coating on the rails. Rubber coating is used on those parts of the rails that need additional protection. Think of corrosion problems or other types of damage to level crossings or in tunnels, for instance, caused by moisture. 

Corrosion protection in station area

Recently, we delivered the first rubber coated rails for the Sloterdijk station area. The rails have been coated in our own coating production line and under conditioned circumstances, in order to achieve the best quality. The 36 meters of rails were then transported to Amsterdam on our Regs wagons with special means, since all forms of coating are quite susceptible to damage. It is therefore important that all rails is treated with utmost care to ensure that functionality is maintained. The last and final step was done by the experienced railway contractor VolkerRail, who lifted the rails effortlessly into the rail trajectory, after which they were welded to the existing track. 

Problem solved

A wonderful solution to a problem commonly occurring on both heavy rail and on light rail, in our country as well as abroad. 

Rubber coated rails in the Eurotunnel

Rubber coated rails were also succesfully installed in the Eurotunnel. The salty and humid climate in the railway tunnel that lies between France and Great Britain had a similar negative effect on the quality of the rails. As a result, the rails had to be replaced on a regular basis. Rubber coating protects the rails and prolongs their lifespan considerably.