The goal of this project is to operate in service an innovative design of railway bogie to demonstrate its ability to increase line capacity through lower maintenance of existing tracks and bogies and reduced environmental impact.
The design of the Ecobogie is revolutionary so it is a new product. The design replaces a heavy fabricated steel structure by a lightweight fully moulded glass fibre reinforced plastic (GRP) bogie frame that integrates the damping and suspension functions so reducing the number of components. Additionally the bogie design is of modular construction and a cross-over between current freight and passenger bogies so enabling it to be adapted to either mode.
The environmental benefits in service which will facilitate the shift to rail include -
• integrating suspension and damping functions within the GRP bogie frame enabling bogie mass to be reduced by 20% and payload to be increased by one tonne
• reducing audible noise emissions by at least 10 dB(A) as bogie frame absorbs vibrations so decoupling vehicle body from rail/wheel interface
• lowering dynamic forces exerted on twisted tracks as the bogie frame is soft in torsion
• reducing lateral forces as bogie is compliant in the lateral as well as vertical direction
• enabling self-steering around curves due to variable axle spacing which will reduce wear of rail head and wheel sets
• increasing line capacity due to reduced track forces and wear resulting in less maintenance and lower environmental impact.
In the Eurobogie project (E! 1841), the design of this revolutionary bogie has been detailed at full scale and tested in the laboratory. At fifth scale, the bogies have completed 12 years of successful service with Lakeside Railways thus demonstrating the feasibility of this design.
The aim is to now move from technology readiness level 6 to level 7 by integrating the existing designs with suitable wagon chasses, characterising the bogies in the laboratory and then to evaluate on the track and in service how vehicles equipped with such bogies can increase infrastructure capacity.
As the bogie design is revolutionary rather than evolutionary, the concept has to be verified in a way that will establish confidence in the design and enable the following barriers to deployment to be overcome -
• Developing a dynamic model of a bogie under a wagon with dispresed damping and variable axle spacing
Moulding the bogie frame in a single operation without any flaws
• Ability of bogie frame to withstand fluctuating dynamic loads up to 10 million cycles
• Ability to withstand fire and heat while under load
• Validating a fibre optic method of monitoring in service bogie frame integrity
• Establishing the TSI route of verifying a bogie design that is a cross over between freight and passenger
• Conservative approach of the rail industry to innovative technology
The new bogie will meet the needs of the rail industry as it will help induce a modal shift from road to rail by increasing track utilisation such as enabling freight to be moved at night through environmentally sensitive areas. This will increase capacity along European freight corridors that are currently noise limited (target 30% increase in capacity).