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Composite drainage channel for railway tracks

News International-French

24 Mar 2011

An innovative drainage channel was developed to remove rainwater and flood from railway tracks and highways. The project was carried out by Apatech over the 2002- 2005 period in close cooperation with the Way and Construction Department of the Russian Railway Ministry and the Building of Railways, Track and Track Facilities Department of the Moscow State University of Railway Engineering.

(Published on December 2007 – JEC Magazine #37)


The innovative drainage channel developed by Apatech is made of composite drainage gutters. It was designed to drain rainwater and flood from railway tracks and high-ways. In mid- 2005, the acceptance tests were successfully carried out by a commission of experts bringing together representatives from the Russian Railway Ministry and Apatech Co.


The mass production of the channels was then launched. By mid-2007, Apatech had installed more than 67,000 m of drainage channels. These channels feature strengthening ribs and are made of glassfibre- reinforced polyester resin using hand lay-up and press-moulding technologies. The technical requirements were developed in cooperation with the Russian Railways joint stock company and the Moscow State University of Communication Lines.


Composite advantages

Composites offered several advantages in this application, allowing many salient features. The composite channel is up to 12-15 times lighter than traditional reinforced concrete channels. Installation costs are significantly lower (3 times) because the channel is easier to install and no heavy machines is needed. The possibility to correct channel length and cut holes for drainage tubes on site provides for simple and easy assembly. The channels can also be installed in hardto- reach places (mountain areas, marshland, permafrost, etc.). Another advantage is that it is not necessary to interrupt the train traffic during installation. The channel has a very long expected service life: 50 to 70 years compared to 20 years for a concrete structure. Composites have a lower hydroresistance than concrete due to their improved surface, which makes it possible to use smaller channel heights and thus save material.


The gutter surface is smoother compared with concrete roughness, allowing water to flow quickly. Among other characteristics are refractoriness, corrosion tolerance, atmospheric and chemical resistance, and dielectric properties. Maintenance costs are expected to be 10 times lower than those for a concrete solution. The channels are produced in widths ranging from 0.5 to 0.8 m, depths of 0.5 to 1 m and lengths between 2 and 6 m.


Market potential

About 70 km (or 720 tonnes) of composite drainage channels produced by Apatech are currently installed on the Russian railways. They are installed in a territory ranging from the far north, in regions with permafrost, to subtropical areas in the south. The potential market in Russia alone is about 8,000 kilometres. Because of its great advantages in terms of financial impact, this solution is destined for large-scale expansion.


More Information...
Established in 1991 by leading researchers and designers, Applied Advanced Technology Company (Apatech) headed by Dr. Andrey Ushakov, is a Russian leader in the development and application of innovative materials, especially glass and carbon fibre. Apatech specialists have over 25 years experience in composite for aircraft and motor cars. Their results may be seen in the famous Antonov, Sukhoi and Mig airplanes, not to mention Kamov helicopters. The company started to cooperate with the Russian Railway Ministry in 1993. Its main fields of activity are trans-portation and engineering, including aircraft construction, automotive industry, railway and electrified city transport.