R3.100 Longer life insulated rail joints

Insulated Rail Joints (IRJs) provide rail track joins with structural stability whilstmaintaining electric circuit integrity for track-based signal systems. Unfortunately, IRJs also have the shortest mean service life out of all railway track components and constitute a major maintenance issue.

Increased heavy haul and urban transport demands put increased tonnage pressure on the IRJ links in the track system. The CRC research is investigating a new IRJ design to improve performance and durability.

Project Status:

Following successful testing,the researchers plan to provide guidelines for revised dimensions and tolerances in manufacturing, installation and maintenance of insulated rail joints. The findings could be incorporated into the IRJ standard AS1085.12 and also into a manual to be published as “Best Practice Manual for Design and Maintenance of Insulated Rail Joints”.

Benefits to Industry:

Assuming the anticipated goals of a better IRJ with a longer use life emerge from the project, there will likely be savings for rail operators through reduced maintenance and improved reliability.