Repoint – technical explanation of track switching technology

Repoint – technical explanation of track switching technology


Repoint. A breakthrough in failsafe
railtrack switching developed at Loughborough University in conjunction
with the Rail Safety and Standards Board. Repoint works with conventional or stub
switch points as shown here. Instead of sliding the rails between positions,
repoint lifts the rails up, moves them across and drops them down. If an
actuator fails the force in the rail pushes the rail back to a safe state. In
the stub switch arrangement, repoint allows multiple routes out of each
switch with different cant for each route if required. An innovative rail end
design allows for the thermal expansion, though this is not required in the
conventional switch, the existing rail geometry is retained. The track motion
shown in the animation is slowed down. At full-speed repoint can switch in under a
second. The active bearers are shown here in green. Each bearer can operate the
switch on its own, giving triplex redundancy reducing the incidence of
switch failure and reducing maintenance costs. Additional passive bearers are
installed to accommodate the rail movement, though these are lower-cost
units without motors or gearboxes. The active and passive bearers are designed
to be easily maintained. A single line replaceable unit can be replaced from
the side, minimising track position required. Shown here operating at full
speed, you can see how repoint has the potential to increase network capacity
and significantly improve reliability while reducing maintenance costs across
the network. This breakthrough in failsafe rail track switching is
applicable in the UK and worldwide and we are actively seeking commercial
partners.

Danny Hutson

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