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Rail Technologies

All hands to the pump - ATC Crossrail

Tackling high traffic friction and lubrication issues underground and overground on the Crossrail project in London is one aspect of L.B. Foster Rail Technologies’ involvement supplying solutions to ATC, a consortium of Alstom, TSO and Costain, which won the €350 million railway systems fit-out contract.

Fifty two specially designed, high capacity PROTECTOR® IV electric lubricators have been specified by ATC to manage friction and rail lubrication on the project.

Dave Harris, Project Engineer at L.B. Foster Rail Technologies (Europe) leads the team behind the new product development. He explains: “ATC adopted a ‘belt and braces’ approach to friction management, with both on-board and track side solutions working together to deliver best in class performance.

“Our high capacity PROTECTOR® IV solution has been re-engineered to meet these exacting specifications. Whereas our standard wall-mounted solution has a capacity of 80 litres; this new specification is to accommodate 230+ litres of grease or KELTRACK®. That’s an increase of nearly 300 per cent.

“Making the size modifications to the cabinet was relatively straightforward. We have a proven track record of this kind of development. Where the real challenge lay was in designing the system to be able to cope with the high volumes of traffic, whilst ensuring a minimal space envelope was utilised.

“We developed a modular solution specifically for tunnel applications. The modular design future proofs the system, with the capability to retro-fit new control boxes with enhanced functionality post installation. The control box module simply unbolts, with no need to uncouple the motor or pump.”

A view looking down a Crossrail tunnel in London
New wall mounted friction management units for Crossrail

Dave Harris continues: “Our new control box fitted to the PROTECTOR® IV is preconfigured to the project’s performance requirements. It is also equipped with Remote Performance Monitoring (RPM) capabilities, allowing friction management equipment to be monitored from a central location. This provides network managers with essential operational data and advanced warning of situations that may affect the optimum performance of friction management equipment. It is more efficient, more controllable and more configurable - all key requirements of the system.”

“A further operational consideration of the new system was the capability to refill in under 15 minutes. Our bespoke solution was a high capacity hose and a barrel mounted system, dispensing product at a rate of 25 litres per minute.

“The end benefit of the increased tank capacity, remote performance monitoring, quick fill capability is that the maintenance cycle is significantly increased to every four weeks and minimal time at the unit is required. This is critical in today’s operating environment where transit systems are being pushed to operate 24/7, minimizing time available to conduct routine maintenance”

The technology described above is customisable for any transit system.