Growth in demand for rail transportation across Europe is predicted to continue. Much of this growth will have
to be accommodated on existing lines that contain old infrastructure. This demand will increase both the rate
of deterioration of these elderly assets and the need for shorter line closures for maintenance or renewal
interventions. However, interventions on elderly infrastructure will also need to take account of the need for lower
economic and environmental impacts. This means that new interventions will need to be developed. In addition
tools will need to be developed to inform decision makers about the economic and environmental consequences
of different intervention options being considered.
MAINLINE proposes to address all these issues through a series of linked work packages that will target at least
300m per year savings across Europe with a reduced environmental footprint in terms of embodied carbon and
other environmental benefits. It will:
- Apply new technologies to extend the life of elderly infrastructure
- Improve degradation and structural models to develop more realistic life cycle cost and safety models
- Investigate new construction methods for the replacement of obsolete infrastructure
- Investigate monitoring techniques to complement or replace existing examination techniques
- Develop management tools to assess whole life environmental and economic impact.
The consortium includes leading railways, contractors, consultants and researchers from across Europe,
including from both Eastern Europe and the emerging economies. Partners also bring experience on approaches
used in other industry sectors which have relevance to the rail sector.
Project benefits will come from keeping existing infrastructure safely in service through the application of
technologies and interventions based on life cycle considerations. Although MAINLINE will focus on certain asset
types, the management tools developed will be applicable across a broader asset base.