Advanced vehicle suspensions can lead to more efficient
movement of freight and passengers with lower environmental
The aim of the project is to evolve the use of fibre-
reinforced plastics in rail suspensions and demonstrate the
advantages of advanced suspensions using such materials.
The advanced designs would utilise the intrinsic properties
of fibre-reinforced plastics such as high working strains
and internal damping, low density and good fatigue
Technology would be evolved from the existing EUREKA
project for suspensions for road vehicles (EU 888
EUROSPRINGS) in terms of materials characterisation, design
allowables and flexible manufacturing technology, including
moulding direct to final shape.
As safety is of paramount importance, a multi-step approach
is proposed to allow designs to be manufactured and tested
and for accelerated testing and inspection techniques to be
The initial task would be to replace steel leaf springs in
freight wagons (axle and bogie) with dual rate Glass fibre
Reinforced Polyester (G.R.P.) springs. The aim would be to
improve the ride, reduce the noise and vibration (ground as
well as air) and increase the maximum operating speed.
Testing would be carried out both in the UK and the CZECH
REPUBLIC. The manufacturing route would be amenable to
producing springs in volume.
The second task would involve designing and testing a
G.R.P. bogie suitable for high speed freight vehicles whose
frame would act as the primary suspension. A secondary
suspension could be fitted for testing passenger vehicles.
One aspect of the work would be to recommend how U.I.C.
standard 517 could be adapted for such types of suspension
or a new standard developed.