The Alliance Performance Improvement Team anaylised past incidents which showed that the likely cause of 60 percent of station overruns and other performance issues were related to wet rail conditions. The majority of these over runs were by less than half a coach length or less than 10 meters. Existing wet rail mitigations such as high pressure jetting and traction sand are not totally effective at improving adhesion under these conditions.
The Rail-Traction product increases frictional forces by nature of the aggregate coming between the rail and the wheel however the key functional difference when compared to traction sand is that it has the unique property of a significant drying effect on the rail head at the rail contact point due to the hydroscopic nature of the Rail-Traction compound. The University of Sheffield conducted testing which proved that this drying effect results in the trailing wheel sets having a dry contact point at braking, which significantly reduces braking distances when the Rail-Traction product is used.
The most effective way to mitigate ‘Wet Rail Phenomenon’ is the use of properly functioning, on-board sanders. Traditionally traction sand is a composite material of sand and aluminium is commonly used in on-board sanding systems, Rail-Traction is a specially formulated Rail Adhesion Aggregate that that has been proven by independent testing in conjunction with Network Rail and SWR to be upto 28% more effective in adhesion improvement compared to traditional traction sand.
Rail-Traction has been tested both online and off line and can be utilised with existing sanding systems as a direct replacement for traditional traction sand and meets the specified flow requirements at levels of moisture of upto 10%.
The Rail-Traction wet rail improver formulation has been developed and tested over a number of years in conjunction with South West Trains and the Network Rail Alliance Team who were tasked in finding a solution to mitigate the effect of low adhesion on the railway network.
Download the Rail Traction product brochure and technical datasheet.
Poor adhesion conditions caused when low levels of moisture are present at the wheel / rail interface. These conditions are associated with dew on the rail-head, very light rain, misty conditions, and the transition between dry and wet rails at the onset of rain. They are not necessarily associated with the additional presence of other (non-water) railhead contaminants. These conditions are not associated with continuous rain.