News Rail Technologies

Taking it to the street

Melbourne’s Yarra Tram network is the largest in the world and arguably the most iconic feature of a city known for its culture, food and wine, events and multiculturalism. The TOR applicator dispenses a water-based friction modifier product to resolve this issue. St. Kilda Road is the busiest tram corridor in the world, with headways almost every minute during peak hours.

Melbourne’s Yarra Tram network is the largest in the world and arguably the most iconic feature of a city known for its culture, food and wine, events and multiculturalism.

The TOR applicator dispenses a water-based friction modifier product to resolve this issue. St. Kilda Road is the busiest tram corridor in the world, with headways almost every minute during peak hours.

Melbourne has more than 1,750 tram stops and carries more than 200 million passengers every year across its 450-strong fleet of trams. Keolis Downer is the current custodian of the world’s largest tram network, with 250km of double track.

“Yarra Trams worked with L.B. Foster Rail Technologies to incorporate a custom-designed L.B. Foster PROTECTOR® IV (PIV) DC solar-electric TOR application system. We built this into the existing bitumen surface and crushed rock with concrete slab embedded track structure, so that the track structure design integrity and operating symmetry with all other local traffic types was effectively and safely maintained.“

Tony Makowsky, Regional Manager, Australasia Field Service & Customer Support at L.B. Foster

Thinking like a passenger, Yarra Trams installed an embedded track wayside Top-of-Rail (TOR) applicator to tackle the issue of severe tram wheel squeal noise problems on St. Kilda Road in south of Melbourne CBD. The TOR applicator dispenses a water-based friction modifier product to resolve this issue. St. Kilda Road is the busiest tram corridor in the world, with headways almost every minute during peak hours.

Tony Makowsky is Regional Manager - Australasia Field Service & Customer Support at L.B. Foster: “The high-density traffic conditions in the St. Kilda Road area includes road, tram, pedestrian and bicycle traffic. It demanded a unique, non-obtrusive and environmentally friendly solution to resolve the squeal issue.

“Yarra Trams worked with L.B. Foster Rail Technologies to incorporate a custom-designed L.B. Foster PROTECTOR® IV (PIV) DC solar-electric TOR application system. We built this into the existing bitumen surface and crushed rock with concrete slab embedded track structure, so that the track structure design integrity and operating symmetry with all other local traffic types was effectively and safely maintained.“

Once installed, the TOR application system was programmed to dispense a small quantity of KELTRACK® Trackside Transit (KTT) friction modifier product in advance of each tram. KTT is a water-based friction control product that has been successfully deployed by several transit railways globally to mitigate wheel squeal and other track-based problem noise conditions.

On the St Kilda Road TOR site, subsequent noise monitoring results confirmed a significant reduction in problem noise events following the installation of the TOR wayside equipment. This was combined with positive feedback from residents in the area. With wheel squeal generation mechanisms being comparable to those precipitating accelerated rail wear, rolling contact fatigue (RCF) and corrugations, similar positive abatement results are expected for these problem conditions within the same St. Kilda Road curves receiving TOR friction control.

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