The development of a new generation of running gear is pivotal to the achievement of the ambitious goals set by Shift2Rail for future European trains, encompassing the substantial reduction of Life Cycle Costs (LCC), improved reliability and energy efficiency, the reduction of noise emissions and of other externalities and the achievement of full interoperability of the rolling stock. Many technological advancements have been proposed or achieved in the last decades that have the potential to improve the running gear of railway rolling stock.
In spite of these developments, the rail sector has recently seen only limited changes in running gear for a variety of reasons. Technical innovations have the tendency to increase the first cost of the running gear while they reduce the LCC by lowering energy consumption and vehicle and track maintenance. The long-term cost reduction, however, is not easy to quantify. Furthermore, the first cost has to be paid by the operator of the vehicle, while the benefit due to reduced track deterioration is with the infrastructure manager. This dilemma will be addressed in WP1 where and updated Universal Cost Model (UCM) based on the one from the Roll2Rail project will be developed that makes it possible to judge the economic impact of the innovation suggested for an operator using the vehicle. By also quantifying the track related costs caused by a rail vehicle it will become possible to “give back” track related cost reductions to a Railway Undertaking by reduced track access charges.
Lower bogie weight would reduce wheel-rail forces and/or allow for higher payload. The project is going to suggest new ideas for the Running Gear Technology Demonstrator (TD1.4) that are based both on the use of new applications of materials and new manufacturing methods. The above goals can be achieved also with innovative, simplified vehicle architectures.
The wheelset is another extremely important and safety-critical component in a rail vehicle. Since it represents a so-called “unsuspended mass” there is a desire to minimize the wheelset weight. In the project, a concept for a hybrid carbon fibre / metallic wheelset design will be proposed.
NEXTGEAR will make sure that the proposed concepts and technologies "do not reinvent the wheel", but take full advantage of past experience coming from other sectors and make sense from the point of the final S2R Integrated Assessment. Direct impacts will be achieved through adequate interaction with the project's Target Group (running gear manufacturers, Regulation & Standardisation 'R&S' bodies, S2R) and through wider dissemination.
In order to achieve these high-level objectives, NEXTGEAR will implement a coordinated set of research activities addressing the three workstreams envisaged by the call: UCM 2.0, contribution of high-end solutions to develop Running Gear Innovations and the Wheel Set of the Future. In these three areas, the project will provide a coordinated set of technical key contributions.