Heriot-Watt co-hosts International Ballast Workshop in Paris

Heriot-Watt co-hosts International Ballast Workshop in Paris

PhD students and senior academics from Heriot-Watt University were among a list of over 50 speakers to address delegates at the Railway Track Science and Engineering International Workshop, Ballast: Issues & Challenges hosted last week at Union Internationale des Chemins de fer (UIC) in Paris.

Ballasted railway tracks

The event was organized by Professor Peter Woodward and Professor Omar Lagrouche from the School of the Built Environment in collaboration with colleagues from UIC and Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF) with the aim of drawing together experts from industry and academia to exchange views about the challenges facing modern ballasted railway tracks. It is intended that this will be the first in a series of workshops dedicated to promoting interaction on these topics.

The event was attended by 120 speakers and delegates from 17 countries across the globe to discuss a wide range of challenges and issues surrounding ballasted tracks of all train speeds and axle weights. The four main themes of the workshop were: Ballast in Practice; Ballast Physics and Characterisation; Ballast and Environment; Ballast Track Design.

Professor Woodward delivered a presentation on 'Modelling Critical Velocities for High Speed Trains'. There were also presentations from PhD students Michael Percival ('GRAFT II: The Development of the UK’s Largest Railway Test Bed') and Mohammad Menan Hasnayn ('Ballast In Extreme Conditions'). A second workshop is already being planned to take place in Edinburgh in 2015. Further details of this will be available by summer 2014.

Professor Peter Woodward, Atkins Professor of High Speed Railways/Director of Research Institute for Infrastructure and Environment, Heriot-Watt University, said, "Our involvement in conferences like this is vital in order to ensure that the University remains at the forefront of research and knowledge exchange in this area, particularly in relation to the establishment of the High Speed Centre of Excellence at Heriot-Watt. This event marks the start of a strong, collaborative partnership between the University, UIC and SNCF."

Funding for this event was drawn from the universities' Impact Acceleration Account (IAA). For further details of IAA, please contact Dr. Ian Brotherston.

Delegates from 17 countries outside the Railway Track Science and Engineering International Workshop, Ballast: Issues & Challenges in Paris
Delegates from 17 countries attended the Railway Track Science and Engineering International Workshop, Ballast: Issues & Challenges in Paris