Advanced rail suspension using fibre-reinforced plastics

The aim is to further develop the use of fibre-reinforced
plastics in rail suspensions and demonstrate the
advantages of advanced suspensions using such materials.

Advanced vehicle suspensions can lead to more efficient movement of freight and passengers with lower environmental impact. 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 performance. 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 developed. 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.
Project ID: 
1 841
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
10 000 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Railway Vehicles technology
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.