Friday 22 March 2024

Railway Maintenance Seminar on held at the TCDD Fenerbahçe Training Facilities

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On 11-12 March 2024, the “Seminar on Railway Maintenance within the Scope of Climate Change- Innovative Approaches” was held at the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) Fenerbahçe Training Facilities in Istanbul within the framework of the UIC Middle East Railway Training Centre (MERTCe). A technical visit also took place on 13 March.

65 railway experts from the UIC Middle East Region attended, including TCDD, Azerbaijan Railways (ADY), and Jordan Hejaz Railways (JHR). The seminar was held in an interactive format with interesting presentations being given followed by Q&A sessions, to share experiences and best practices regarding design and maintenance work. The presentations sparked both debates and questions, with these continuing during the coffee breaks while the attendees enjoyed the nice spring weather in Istanbul.

The first day’s seminar focused on “structures”. After TCDD gave a welcome speech, Tuomas Kaira from UIC examined bridge maintenance processes. Although climate change is affecting certain aspects of bridges, regular maintenance is now more important than ever to allow infrastructure managers to allocate their resources in the most effective way possible. This includes carrying out regular and harmonised inspections and managing bridge condition data effectively. Tuomas also pointed out, with the help of use cases from the field, how important communication is between different technical departments and experts.

Ahmet Derya Ateş from TCDD then continued with a presentation focusing on culverts and their maintenance. He shared experiences from within Türkiye and how climate change has affected the cross-section sizes of culverts in certain areas.

After the lunch break, Concepción Toribio from CEMOSA, an engineering and quality assurance company, gave a comprehensive overview about how the effects of climate change should be taken into account when maintaining and designing railway infrastructure. She started off with an outline of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the measurable consequences of climate change, and possible future scenarios based on different climate models. The real examples presented painted a clear picture of the effect, for example, that heavy rain can have on railway infrastructure and proved a reminder that climate change is here, and not simply a future concern. As a new approach to design, she then discussed sustainable drainage systems, where the water drainage capacity, such as for culverts and pipes, is not in fact increased, but the solutions implemented instead mimic natural drainage processes to deal with the extra water before they reach critical infrastructure.

The second day was devoted to railway tracks. First, Rosa Casquero from UIC presented an overview of track system and track component design criteria (such as rails, sleepers, fastening systems, switches and crossings, and ballast), explaining the functions, technical requirements, related standards, and UIC guidelines, as well as giving some use cases from the Spanish infrastructure manager ADIF. Finally, she focused on track maintenance issues and went into detail on conventional track monitoring systems, such as track geometry recording vehicles or ultrasonic inspections and for innovative, on dynamic on-board systems, fibre optic sensing, video inspections, RFID tagging and drones.

Afterwards, Bayezid Özden highlighted his company Yapiray’s main business domains (supplying sleepers and ballastless track systems, constructing tracks and carrying out maintenance work), with international experience, mainly in Europe and Africa. He also gave an overview of ballastless track basics, such as the reference standards and system typologies, and showed Yapiray´s own developments and products, especially in track slab technology. He concluded by presenting examples of ballast to slab track conversions in different locations.

Last but not least, Stefano Lisi from RFI gave a comprehensive presentation on the new IRS 70720: Laying and maintenance of tracks with continuous welded rails, which replaces the UIC Leaflet 720 and will soon be published by UIC. The new document is the result of more than 5 years of hard work from a team of ten infrastructure managers (IM) and collects the most up to date knowledge and experience in terms of designing, constructing and maintaining tracks with continuous welded rails (CWR). The IRS aims to prevent the dangers of track buckling, a phenomenon which most countries are now facing due to climate change and general rising temperatures. It includes detailed information on experimental techniques for lateral track resistance, track stability models, stress-free temperature measurement systems, and a specific chapter on safety management to provide IMs with a method to create a suitable safety criterion for managing CWR tracks.

On the final day, a technical visit was held at the Marmaray traffic control centre and vehicle maintenance depot.

This seminar and workshop are part of the UIC Middle East Region’s events schedule. They were organised by UIC together with its member companies with the aim of boosting the sharing of knowledge and best practices between experts all over the world, facilitating networking, and allowing the identification of key topics for the railway community.

All UIC’s publications are available and accessible on the online shop in English (and partially in French and German) at UIC Railway Publications.

For further information, please contact Rosa Casquero, UIC Head of Infrastructure, Asset Management & TTI, at

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