Salcef Group is part of a research project funded by the European Union to develop new measures to protect railways from sand in desert regions.
SMaRT - Sand Mitigation around Railway Tracks is the research project financed by the European Community and coordinated by Turin Polytechnic in partnership with the University of Oxford, dedicated to research into new solutions to protect railway lines located in arid areas, affected by the accumulation of sand carried by the wind.
The partners of the research consortium include the Salcef Group, which has always stood out for its ability to offer integrated services in any operational scenario.
Railway infrastructures in arid regions are subject to a number of specific environmental factors. One of the most insidious elements is obviously sand carried by the wind. When it accumulates it can affect all the railway components, putting the durability of infrastructures at risk, compromising the safety and operation of transport and causing a considerable increase in maintenance costs.
Most of the railways in service crossing arid regions are located in north-western China and the Middle East and these sections are expected to expand rapidly in the short and mid-term. One example is the Shah-Habshan-Ruwais line, the first railway built in the United Arab Emirates: 416 km of ballasted track built by Salcef between 2012 and 2015.
Fighting the threats of windblown sand is a constant challenge, in terms of specific studies, technological innovation and high-level engineering. The importance of the problem has been also recognised by the European Union, which recently decided to finance SMaRT - Sand Mitigation around Railway Tracks, a 4-year project (2017-2020), as part of the European Framework Horizon 2020 Program for Research and Innovation.
SMaRT aims to develop new measures for the mitigation of sand (SMM - Sand Mitigation Measures), through standardised techniques to assess sand-related risks, and the implementation of new and effective measures to mitigate the phenomenon, which will be evaluated through innovative computational simulations and field tests.
The consortium carrying out the project is a multidisciplinary team of researchers from Turin Polytechnic and the University of Oxford, with the participation of important companies in the railway industry, including the Salcef Group and RECO, a group company specialised in engineering and design.
For more information on the SMaRT project see Railways Africa, Protecting Railways from Windblown sand, ISSUE 6: 2018, pp. 14-16.