Slab track

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A slab track (previously also ballastless track or ballastless superstructure ) is a track superstructure used in railways , trams and underground trains , in which the ballast and the sleepers are replaced by a solid track made of concrete or asphalt .

Two versions of the slab track on the SFS Nürnberg – Ingolstadt . Left type Rheda classic, right type Rheda 2000
Slab track on the Nuremberg – Ingolstadt SFS ; System Bögl
Transition between the slab track and the conventional ballast superstructure on the Ingolstadt – Nuremberg new line
Slab track type Rheda-Berlin HGV at Halle / Leipzig airport train station, new Erfurt – Leipzig / Halle line
Plan for a "stone railway" - a slab track from 1833


At higher train speeds, the load on the route increases significantly. The classic ballast superstructure, which should react elastically to the train crossings, cannot withstand these forces sufficiently, and so-called track position errors occur due to permanent shifts in the superstructure. These lead to a reduction in driving comfort and often make it necessary to set up speed limits for safety reasons. At very high speeds, the ballast stones in the superstructure are sucked in by vehicles and damage them ( flying ballast ).

The maintenance effort doubles for a route traveled at 250 to 300 km / h compared to a route traveled at 160 to 200 km / h. The ballast will have to be replaced after around 300 million tonnes (sum of axle loads ) instead of the previous billion tonnes. This period can be increased with highly elastic rail fastenings . In tunnels, where the maintenance of the superstructure is considered to be particularly complex and dangerous, the advantage of reduced or no maintenance work is all the more pronounced.

The costs for the slab track superstructure depend on numerous factors (type of construction, rail profile, routing, etc.). Rough guideline values ​​for many systems range up to about one and a half times the conventional ballast superstructure or up to almost 1,000 to 1,500 euros per meter of double-track, straight roadway on longer routes. In principle, the greater the length of the route, the greater the automation options, which leads to lower costs per meter of lane. On the high-speed route Cologne – Rhein / Main , the costs per running kilometer of slab track were around 770,000 euros.

In 1995, Deutsche Bahn stated the construction costs per kilometer of gravel lane at an average of DM 850,000, and  DM 970,000 per kilometer for slab tracks. The ballast bed has to be renewed after 40 years, the slab track after 60 years. The annual maintenance work on the ballast bed was given at 15,000 DM per kilometer, that of the slab track at 1,000 DM per kilometer. In 2015, the additional costs of the slab track compared to a ballast superstructure were put at 40 percent.

Ballast is occasionally used in slab track systems: to protect asphalt base layers from ultraviolet radiation and as a safety element in the sleeper compartment in the event of broken rails.


At speeds above 200 km / h, in addition to the better track stability, the maintenance costs in particular are significantly lower for the slab track, it is more resistant to deformation and weathering; Track position problems (and thus slow driving) hardly occur. Refilling or cleaning of gravel is not necessary; The vibration-induced crumbling of the ballast, which can be observed in the high-speed range, does not occur either. It is expected that the slab track will have a service life of at least 60 years. This increases the availability, reliability and economy of the route. A conventional ballast superstructure, on the other hand, has to be worked through every four years in order to maintain the track position. Maintenance is essentially limited to replacing wear parts, for example the running rails.

Due to the increased ability to absorb lateral forces compared to the conventional construction method, the slab track allows a greater cant in the route (in the Deutsche Bahn network up to 170 mm instead of 160 mm on the ballasted track). The alignment, for example the design of the track radius , becomes more flexible. Due to the greater positional stability in connection with lower dynamic forces, according to a dissertation, the cant deficiency could also be increased to 180 to 200 mm under suitable boundary conditions. This results in smaller track radii and reduced space requirements.

Also, the required Planum on the tracks may turn flat. In the tunnel, the cross-section can be smaller due to the low construction height of the slab track. With a given cross-section, the clearance profile can be enlarged and the aerodynamic drag reduced. The use of slab tracks in tunnels is now mandatory in some countries.

According to Deutsche Bahn, the slab track has, according to numerous measurements by the company, better spring properties than a classic ballasted track. An elastomer layer ensures that the slab track is less rigid than that of the ballasted track.

Since the slab track is less susceptible to heat-related track warping , it is also more suitable for the use of the eddy current brake , which generates heat in the rail when braking (and thus possibly changes the track position). In Germany, therefore, the eddy current brake is only used on the slab-track high-speed routes Ebensfeld-Erfurt-Halle / Leipzig, Cologne-Rhine / Main and Nuremberg-Ingolstadt-Munich . In contrast, large parts of the route network used by the ICE 3 have been upgraded for emergency or rapid braking .

Compared to the ballast bed, the effort to avoid unwanted vegetation is reduced with the slab track. In the event of an accident , some slab track systems can be used by road vehicles. Due to the higher availability, the number of transfer points can also be reduced.

Based on laboratory tests at the end of the 1980s, a service life of at least 60 years was expected for the slab track. This is around 50 percent higher than with a ballasted track. According to its own information, Deutsche Bahn now considers 80 years to be possible.

Other advantages mentioned are greater insensitivity of the road construction to influences from the subsurface and better load distribution (and thus less stress on the subsoil). In addition, the slab track can also be erected without track-bound construction machinery. In connection with the new Wendlingen – Ulm line , whose approximately 26 km long section on the plateau of the Swabian Alb is bordered on both sides by tunnels in difficult construction ground, this is stated as a further advantage, as it can be commissioned earlier than with a ballasted superstructure.


Sound absorbers on slab tracks in the Euerwangtunnel to avoid the tunnel bang

The main disadvantages are the more complex assembly, the significantly higher investments compared to the classic superstructure and, for some designs, the lack of approval from the Federal Railway Authority .

Since an adjustment of the track position after setting up the slab track is only possible within the scope of the correction options of the rail fastening system (a few cm up or down), there are particularly high demands on the permanent stability of the subsurface. For example, the slab track on the high-speed line Hanover – Berlin was not used on the southern bypass around Stendal due to the subsoil that was very susceptible to settlement there. Incidentally, even small adjustments in the context of infrastructure optimization, for example an increase in elevations to increase speed, are hardly possible.

The noise emissions from trains passing over them are greater. Retrofitting sound insulation panels, also to avoid the tunnel bang , is possible, however.

Restoring the road in the event of an accident, for example after derailments, is also considered problematic. While conventional ballast superstructure can be worked through or rebuilt in a few hours to a few days, the time required to restore a slab track superstructure several hundred meters long is usually in the range of a few weeks. Slab-built slab track systems are an exception, in which at least individual slabs can be changed within a few hours, for example during night-time closures.

Uncontrolled cracks in the construction of the concrete base layer are also considered a disadvantage.


Sleepers of the slab track system Rheda 2000 before setting in concrete on the reinforced concrete slab
Itztalbrücke , still without slab track

The slab track was originally used in tunnels, as it is there that it can exploit the advantages of better track stability and less space.

In the meantime, diverse variants of the slab track have been developed; a basic distinction can be made between tracks with sleeper bases and tracks in which the rails are mounted directly on the track. In some variants, the rails are partially cast or clamped into the track.

The necessary elasticity is usually achieved by elastic materials that are mounted between the superstructure and substructure.

System Rheda

The design, named after the Rheda-Wiedenbrück train station , consists of a 20 centimeter thick hydraulically bound base layer on which a 14 centimeter thick reinforced concrete slab (base plate) is arranged. The concrete sleepers are aligned on this and then fixed with filler concrete, which is connected to the lower support plate by reinforcement . The Rheda system was further developed independently by several manufacturers. The Rheda 2000 variant, which no longer uses full-block sleepers, but rather two half sleepers, was more widely used. The advantage is the smaller bond area between the filler concrete and the sleeper (the transition between the sleeper and the filler concrete is an imperfection point that is at risk of cracking and can significantly influence the service life of a slab track with embedded sleepers).

This system is now part of the RailOne delivery program and is used in several countries.

Züblin system

Another slab track system was developed by the Züblin company . With this type of construction, sleepers are shaken into the fresh concrete of a continuously reinforced concrete slab. The system was tested on the Nordring in Munich and in Oberesslingen train station , as well as in the Karlsfeld test section. The system was first used in tunnels on the Mannheim – Stuttgart high-speed line , which opened in 1991 . The Züblin type was also used on the Berlin-Hamburg railway between Wittenberge and Dergenthin , on the Berlin – Hanover high-speed line (10 km in length, near Nahrstedt ) and in the southern section of the new Cologne – Rhine / Main line. At the beginning of 1995, 28.8 km of track on slab track were planned between Berlin and Hamburg.

System Bögl

Slab track system Bögl
Assembly of the deck slabs using a gantry crane on the new Ebensfeld – Erfurt line (May 2012)

Already in the 1970s, the construction company developed Max Bögl one as slab track system called slab track that has been tested experimentally in Dachau from the 1977th From 1999, further testing of the roadway, which had now been further developed for series production, followed in Schleswig-Holstein and near Heidelberg. In the course of renovation work (as of April 2017), however, the section near Heidelberg will again be provided with a conventional ballasted track.

Here, concrete slabs are completely prefabricated in a factory, including all rail connections. The panels weigh around nine tons, are 6.45 m long, 2.55 m wide and 20 cm high. At the construction site, they are simply placed on the base course and firmly connected to one another, then a bitumen-cement mortar is poured through holes, which serves as an adhesive between the base course and the plate. So that the projected track geometry can be produced, the track support plates, which are mortised on the front sides, have to be individually prefabricated and then installed at the intended location. This requires an increased logistical effort as well as very precise manufacturing processes, but on the other hand allows less dependence on the weather during construction, better mechanizable construction site processes and shorter construction times.

This system was used in the construction of the Chinese high-speed railway Beijing-Shanghai .

System ÖBB / PORR

The slab track system ÖBB / PORR consists of an elastically mounted track support plate. It is a joint development of the Austrian Federal Railways and PORR AG . First installed in 1989 on a 264 m long test track, it has been the control system in Austria since 1995 and, according to the manufacturer, has also been installed in Germany on bridges and in tunnels since 2001. The system is used on a route length of around 250 km.

There are over 700 km of this slab track system worldwide, with the longest ÖBB-PORR route in Germany being on the new routes of the German Unity No. 8 traffic project . In addition, the underground lines in Doha, Qatar (175 km) have also been equipped with this system.

System SBB Bözberg / STEDEF

In 1966, a system developed jointly by SBB and Roger Sonneville / STEDEF was used in the Bözberg tunnel for the first time . It is a two-block sleeper with a tie rod. The threshold blocks are provided with rubber shoes. The system became known as “SBB / RS-Bauart Bözberg” or “Bauart STEDEF”.

The required elastic behavior is achieved through a microcellular insert in the rubber shoe. When producing the elastic insert, the special requirements of the customer with regard to rigidity can be addressed. The function of the insert serves to simulate the elastic support of sleepers in the track bed . The rubber shoe separates the two-block sleeper from the surrounding concrete and thus enables it to sink. The two-block sleepers equipped with rubber shoes and inserts are aligned on the leveling concrete of the tunnel floor and set in concrete. With the Bözberg system, all components can be replaced individually.

System LVT / Sonneville

The Low Vibration Track (LVT) design can be seen as a further development of the SBB Bözberg / STEDEF design and also works with rubber shoes and insoles. The main difference in the LVT system is that there is no tie rod that connects the sleeper blocks. The mode of action of LVT can also be equated with that of a mass-spring system due to the two-stage elasticity and thus provides additional vibration protection. The system was developed by the Sonneville company in the early 1990s and installed in the Eurotunnel , which is why it is sometimes referred to as the "LVT Euroblock". At SBB, this system is used for the construction of slab tracks, especially in tunnels . According to the manufacturer, the LVT system has already been installed over a length of more than 1300 kilometers on both high-speed and metro lines as well as heavy-haul routes.

With this system, the sleeper blocks with elastic insert and rubber shoe are laid out at the intended support point spacing and connected to the laid rail for the assembly. An assembly tie rod is then installed to establish the gauge . After alignment, the track grid is cast with unreinforced filler concrete, as in the Bözberg system.

With the LVT system, the sleeper blocks can be manufactured with or without a rail incline. The specified rail inclination can be achieved by installing it at an appropriate incline.

Alstom system

The design with the designation New Ballastless Track (NBT) from Alstom has developed out of the city and local traffic area. With the requirements of short construction times, high mechanization of the construction site, high reliability, low costs for construction and subsequent operation as well as little interference from noise and dust during construction, a technical flow production for track construction was developed under the name "Appitrack" . From this, together with other companies, a design suitable for high-speed and high-load lines was derived. This design was first tested in practice in 2013 on the Gisors - Serqueux route in France. In 2014, further load tests were carried out as part of a test at the Scherbinka railway test ring in Russia . Towards the end of 2016, the Federal Railway Authority announced its approval for operational trials. This means that tests on public routes with this system can also be carried out in Germany.

System NBU

The NBU ( N aumburger B au U nion ) design is characterized by a monolithic structural shape of the supporting structure with no threshold elements at all. The supporting body consists of a continuous concrete slab with four notches, which with steel reinforcement enables continuous production on the construction site. In addition to continuous flow production, the NBU design also allows manual production when space is limited or for repairs. The elastic rail mounting of the Krupp ECF (Elastic Clip Fastener) type is used for fastening the rails . However, other rail fastening systems can also be used. The two companies founded a joint company, Solid Slab Track GmbH, to manufacture this slab track .

Since 2008, DB Netz has been operating a test section on the Cologne – Aachen route. In 2016, this type of construction was given general type approval by the Federal Railway Authority for Earthworks and Tunnels up to a speed of 300 km / h.

System IVES

The design IVES ( I ntelligent, V ielseitig, e fficient and S olide ) was of Rhomberg developed. This threshold-free system consists of a base layer (preferably conventional road asphalt ) and concrete support elements into which the rail support points of the DFF 304 system are cast directly. The necessary elasticity is achieved solely with an elastic intermediate plate in the rail support points.

With this system, the supporting elements are individually manufactured and laid across or lengthways on the base layer. On the top, the support elements have recesses into which the rail support points are inserted. Then the rails are lifted into it and the track grid thus formed is brought into its exact position and height. Finally, the rail support points are fixed firmly to the supporting elements with high-strength mortar. Thanks to this simple, flexible structure, IVES is suitable for all types of rail transport.

After a test route, IVES was installed in the Asfordby Tunnel in Great Britain for the first time in 2013 and has since been installed on seven (partial) routes. The longest stretch of this type is in the Bruggwald tunnel in Switzerland, where 1731 m of it was built.

Other types

Other types of slab track use asphalt support plates . Such construction methods are used on the Nantenbacher curve opened in 1994 (type ATD , Deutsche Asphalt ) and in the Berlin area (type Getrac ) as well as formerly on the Halle-Bitterfeld route with Y sleepers (type Walter or Strabag ).

A number of other variants developed by the industry were installed on the Rheinbahn near Waghäusel in 1996 .


Development in Germany

The first considerations about a fixed track came in the early 1940s when it was planned to build the broad-gauge railway in a so-called track wall . Due to the events of the war, the entire project was discontinued during the planning phase.

In the 1950s and 1960s, both the Deutsche Bundesbahn and the Deutsche Reichsbahn attempted slab track systems.

As a result, the Deutsche Reichsbahn created a test section near Zerbst in 1964 with prestressed prestressed concrete slabs. Outside of this experimental set-up, no operational uses are known.

In the 1950s, the Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB) began tests with track fastenings on solid slabs. In 1959, a ballastless superstructure of 130 and 233 m in length was installed in the Schönstein and Hengstenberg tunnels . The installation of such structures was particularly useful in tunnels, since subsurface subsidence was not to be expected there.

Platform track 9 of the Rheda-Wiedenbrück station with slab track

Between 1961 and 1990, the DB set up more than 20 test sections. The slab track came u. a. in the form of three prefabricated constructions from 1967 onwards on the Nuremberg – Bamberg railway line at Hirschaid station .

The systematic development and research took place from 1971 as part of a wheel / rail research project funded by the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology . A carriageway developed by the testing office for the construction of land transport routes at the Technical University of Munich was installed in the spring of 1972 over a length of 637 m and two points in the Rheda-Wiedenbrück train station . The station is located in a section of the Hamm – Minden railway line , which was intended for high-speed tests. After the pavement was paved, component tests and measurements were carried out in order to develop a dimensioning for the system. After more than 40 years of operation and more than 520 million load tons, no maintenance worth mentioning was necessary. One of the two points has been repaired in the meantime, the other replaced with gravel construction.

A gravel-free superstructure over a length of 60 m was also tested in the neighboring Oelde station in 1972. However, this turned out to be less durable. From 1974, three slab track systems were installed in the Eichholzheim and Schefflenz tunnels : 1,263 m of the Rheda type , 565 m of the Oelde type and 70 m of the Stedef type (like Rheda , but with elastically mounted, exchangeable sleepers). In 1977 two test sections of 10 and 20 m in length were installed on the Munich North Ring.

At the end of the 1970s, between Dachau and Munich-Karlsfeld (today: S-Bahn Munich , Ast Petershausen ), a superstructure test section was built on which the Rheda system, in addition to the Züblin construction method and two other (precast) construction methods, as part of the research project Wheel / rail were tested. The 1.7 km long test section had the toughest conditions to date with a top speed of 160 km / h and 57,000 load tonnes per day. With it, the slab track should be made ready for series production. There was hardly any experience with the slab track in the curved track. The slab track (at that time still referred to as a ballastless track ) was also to be tested on the planned Rheine – Freren railway test facility.

The Rheda slab track system was then used to lower the track in several tunnels (to make room for electrification ) and in several tubes on the new lines that were opened in the late 1980s. A slab track system of the Rheda type was also used on the Singapore metro and in several tunnels of the Austrian Federal Railways . At the end of the 1980s, the DB (near Oberesslingen , Filstalbahn ) tested a laying machine that vibrated concrete sleepers into the still liquid concrete, thus enabling a practicable mechanized laying for the first time.

In 1987 a targeted development project was carried out in which solutions for the serial installation of slab tracks in tunnels were to be developed by the end of 1988 (status: October 1987). Around 1988 the DB pursued the goal of making the various slab track designs ready for use by the end of 1991. For this purpose, known weaknesses should be eliminated and revised forms should be tested in test sections for at least one year.

In the course of the expansion of the Augsburg – Ulm line , two test sections of 50 and 100 m in length were created at short notice in 1988, in which further developed variants of the slab track were built.

Slab track was used in a total of four tunnels on the first two new lines ( Hanover – Würzburg and Mannheim – Stuttgart ). While a modified form of Rheda was used between Hanover and Würzburg in the Einberg and Mühlberg tunnels, a differently revised version of the Rheda system was used on the same route in the Sengebergtunnel . The Züblin type was installed in the Markstein tunnel between Mannheim and Stuttgart . The installation of the slab track in the tunnels was decided by the board of DB and should also serve to gain experience with the use of the slab track for future new lines. It was also hoped to be able to realize smaller tunnel cross-sections in future new routes (due to the low height of the slab track, which is 25 cm).

In 1991 a program funded by the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology to optimize the route for high speeds was provisionally concluded.

Until 1992, the slab track was installed in tunnels traveled at high speed over a total of 21.6 km. Up to this point in time, the slab track was not used on bridges due to unavoidable shifts and twisting of the structure . An exception was a bridge over the Amper on the Munich – Lindau railway line . In mid-1994 the slab track for large parts of the new Erfurt – Leipzig / Halle line was considered.

The slab track was used for the first time on a larger scale in Germany on the Nantenbacher curve , which was put into operation in 1994 , where it is used from the south portal of the Schönrain tunnel to the south portal of the Rammersberg tunnel . A modified Rheda variant was installed on the Berlin-Hamburg railway between Breddin and Glöwen in 1994 . By the end of 1994, almost 60 km of slab track had been built in Germany. In 1998, the first 58 km long section of the high-speed line from Hanover to Berlin followed , which was later extended to a total length of 91 kilometers in the Oebisfelde-Staaken section.

Between 1995 and 1998, the ballasted superstructure of the Berlin Stadtbahn was replaced by a slab track, using two-block sleepers instead of prestressed concrete . A further development of this so-called Berlin type is used on the Halle – Guntershausen railway near Naumburg . Also on the railway line Mannheim-Karlsruhe more concrete and asphalt versions are examined in a 3.5 km section.

In May 1999, 23 km of slab track went into operation with the south Main section of the high-speed line Cologne – Rhine / Main . The full length of the line, which was put into operation in 2002, has a length of 146 km with a superstructure as a slab track for speeds of up to 300 km / h. On the high-speed line Nuremberg – Ingolstadt , which went into operation in 2006, slab track is used over a length of 75 km. Slab tracks are now standard in the rehabilitation of tunnels, e.g. B. also at the Esslingerberg tunnel on the Ingolstadt – Treuchtlingen railway line .

Test section of a slab track that can be used by emergency vehicles, at the Osterberg tunnel (2012)
Slab track on the Oelzetal bridge with compensation
plate and rail extension

Since 2008, the slab track in certain European rail tunnels has to be made passable for road vehicles due to the new TSI regulations .

When the Elbe floods in 2013 , a five-kilometer section of the high-speed line from Hanover to Berlin was washed away and repairs were required.

A new variant of the slab track that can also be installed on long bridges is being used on the new Erfurt – Leipzig / Halle line. Due to a lack of approval and a lack of evidence of the same safety , the commissioning of the line in mid-2015 was considered to be at risk. After expert reports and adjustments to the slab track , commissioning took place at the end of 2015.

Due to the slab track technology, which is still new for railway systems, some sections of the track already had to be renewed prematurely, as they were no longer operationally safe due to various problems. The problems result both from execution errors during installation and from immature designs.

The latter include the corrosion problems on the Halle – Bitterfeld route , which led to an extraordinary full closure of the route by the supervisory authorities. The construction with Y-steel sleepers in connection with asphalt base course and soundproofing elements, erected in 1995 over a length of 15 km between Roitzsch and Hohenthurm , was completely closed in summer 2012 for reasons of operational safety after previous speed reductions. Another four-kilometer section between Peißen and Hohenthurm on this route with a Walter type that is no longer in use was converted to the Rheda system at the end of 2016 as part of a system clean-up .

The mainline tracks of the Berlin Stadtbahn were damaged in tight curves.

In 2015, around 1300 km of slab track superstructure was in operation at Deutsche Bahn.

After a fire on the Cologne – Rhein / Main high-speed line on October 12, 2018, the slab track on the affected track had to be replaced over a length of around 60 m.

Development in Switzerland

The Swiss Federal Railways exploration began ballastless superstructure in the early 1960s. In November 1963 a commission of experts was founded, which presented a concept in 1964 that was tested in a section of the Bözberg tunnel from 1966 onwards . The slab track system with rubber-mounted two-block sleepers has since been installed in a number of tunnels. The system was tested as a large-scale trial in the Heitersberg Tunnel, which opened in 1975 . The two-block sleepers and the rails were replaced in 2014 while the system was still in operation, as, according to SBB, the load on the slab track had increased tenfold in the almost 40 years since it was commissioned.

In the 1980s, the Bözberg / STEDEF system was installed in further tunnel structures. These include the Museumsstrasse stations in Zurich main station , the station at Zurich Airport and the new tunnel structures built for the opening of the Zurich S-Bahn ( Hirschengraben and Zurichberg tunnels ).

From 1990 the slab track was able to establish itself in the construction of railway tunnels in Switzerland. An 800 m long section was installed in the gray wood tunnel on the route between Bern and Olten . In connection with the project " Rail 2000 " which was Mattstetten-Rothrist created, with almost 30 km of the Bözberg / STEDEF system in three tunnels ( Emmequerung , Önzbergtunnel , Murgenthal Tunnel ) was installed.

In 2003 the Zimmerberg base tunnel between Zurich and Thalwil went into operation. During construction, the LVT / Sonneville system was installed for the first time in Switzerland over a longer route (18 km). This system was also used in the Weinberg Tunnel, which was opened in 2014 (part of the Zurich diameter line ).

The two base tunnels of the NEAT were further projects in which the LVT system was used. In the Lötschberg Base Tunnel, which opened in 2007, 51.3 km of slab track were installed. The superstructure of the Gotthard Base Tunnel , which opened in 2016, was also carried out continuously in slab track (approx. 114 km) using the LVT system. It is the longest slab track tunnel application in the world.

Slab tracks have been installed in Switzerland for decades mainly in tunnels, where they are successfully in operation. For use outside of tunnels, however, they present risks due to the potential for precipitation and temperature fluctuations. A first 300 m stretch of the Bözberg / STEDEF system was built in 1990, following the Zürichberg tunnel outdoors. This proves to be durable despite the heavy load (900 million load tons). In 2015, both bridge structures ( Kohlendreieck- and Letzigrabenbrücke ) of the Zurich diameter line were also implemented in the LVT system due to structural adjustments to the bridge structures. This was the first time that this system was used on longer bridges in Switzerland, taking into account the SBB's strategy of using slab track on stable ground.

Development in other countries

  • In 1967, British Railways developed a ballastless track for use in the planned Channel Tunnel and tested it at Radcliffe-on-Trent .
  • After the Japanese National Railways had had bad experiences with ballasted superstructures on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen line, which opened in 1964, a precast slab system was used on the Shinkansen routes that opened from that year - first on bridges and tunnels, and later on earthen bodies. By the year 2000, 1200 km of the route network were equipped with the approximately five meters long, 2.3 m wide and 160 or (later) 190 mm high panels. The precast superstructure was also used in Italy for the expansion of the Udine – Tarvisio line.
  • In the People's Republic of China , various slab track systems were examined from the 1960s onwards. Various systems were tested over a distance of around 300 km. A large number of systems are being tested on a 13.2 km long section of the future Suining – Chongqing high-speed line. In this section, the ballastless track was also used for the first time in the PRC on a longer bridge and on switches. The FF Bögl system was used on the Beijing – Shanghai high-speed line .
  • The slab track has been used in tunnels and sections between tunnels for several years by the Austrian Federal Railways . B. on the Tauernbahn near Schwarzach / Salzburg and in the Tauern tunnel itself. The purpose of this is to enable emergency vehicles to drive through the tunnels. The tunnels of the new sections of the Westbahn between Vienna and Linz also received or will receive a slab track. The Arlberg tunnel , which is currently under renovation, will also be equipped with a slab track over a length of 10 km.
  • The Nederlandse Spoorwegen developed a slab track in which the rails are elastically embedded. The system was first used in 1973 on a railway bridge and in the Hague tram network .
  • In France, a slab of slab track was set up for operational testing for the first time on the LGV Est européenne in the area of ​​the Chauconin transfer point .
  • In the Czech Republic there is only a 440 m long slab track section. It is located between the Rudoltice v Čechách and Třebovice v Čechách train stations , is based on the German Rheda 2000 system and has been in operation since August 1, 2005.
  • In 1984 the Italian State Railways built a slab track over a length of around 60 km on the Gemona – Caria line. It was also used on the Brennerbahn in the 14 km long Schlerntunnel and on many sections of the upgraded Udine-Tarvisio line.
  • The Soviet Railways, the Czechoslovak State Railways, and the British Railways experimented with different systems.


Slab track on a short section of the Saarbrücken light rail network on the Josefsbrücke

Slab tracks are also built for underground trains .

In the Nuremberg U-Bahn , all tunnel sections are slab track, with the exception of short sections in the Langwasser-Mitte and Schoppershof U-Bahn stations. Above-ground sections, on the other hand, use a classic ballast superstructure.

The Berlin U-Bahn has repeatedly used slab tracks on new lines on an experimental basis, for example there is a slab track from 1973 in the Tierpark U-Bahn station. However, the BVG has mostly reverted to gravel tracks when it comes to renovating such attempts.

During the renovation of the elevated railway line of the U1 in Berlin-Kreuzberg , the BVG has installed a slab track since 2004 in the form of a new type of column construction for the tracks on the elevated viaduct , e.g. B. at the Hallesches Tor underground station . The reason for this is that it will reduce the maintenance costs on the viaduct. In the past, blockages occurred in the drainage area below the gravel. These areas were difficult to access due to the gravel and the water backflow caused corrosion damage to the viaduct. This new form is to be used more intensively in the coming years for upcoming renovations on the elevated railway sections.

Slab track in the Moscow Metro

The Moscow subway (and consequently all metros on the territory of the former Soviet Union ) has been using an archetype of slab track on tunnels since the 1930s. Here, tar oil-impregnated wooden sleepers are poured under with concrete after the rails have been installed and the track has been aligned and thus connected to form a rigid support plate. In the middle of the track bed , a channel is concreted, which serves for drainage; the wooden sleepers span this channel. In the station area, the middle part of the sleepers in the area of ​​the channel is sawn out and is also used for safety: The channel is dimensioned so that an adult can lie down in it and get away from an approaching train.

Light rail

Construction work on the tram route at Saarbrücken main station: in the foreground, the rails are poured out with asphalt, in the background rails are still without a pouring-out on the slab track

In addition to its use on subway lines, the slab track system is also used on light rail vehicles.

At the Saarbahn in Saarbrücken , all lines that have been opened since 1997 and run in the city center (between the Römerkastell and Ludwigstraße stops and between Cottbuser Platz and Siedlerheim) were made as slab tracks. Concrete slabs are created on site, onto which the rails and a noise-insulating layer are screwed; these are then poured again with concrete and covered with paving stones or an asphalt pavement, so that the upper edge of the rail results in a flat surface that can be walked over or driven over without any problems, thus creating a uniform image.

Conventional ballast superstructures are used on the other sections of the route - this includes the areas of the system interfaces through which the light rail network is connected to the Deutsche Bahn network and on the Deutsche Bahn lines that are used by the light rail system. On a short section of the route on the Saarbrücken Josefsbrücke, the slab track is used in its pure form, even without concrete pouring.


Transition between slab track and ballast superstructure in the rail network of the Saarbrücken Stadtbahn

Slab track systems are also used in numerous trams. For example, in Linz (since around 1988) and Graz (around since 2000), all newly constructed route sections have consistently been founded on a reinforced concrete slab cast on site. To dampen vibrations, the roadway is often insulated on (and between) approximately 3 cm thick rubber granulate mats and against current scattering into the subsoil, as well as by a strong plastic film to prevent electrical corrosion.

In Linz, since 1990, the rails have been screwed to a track with spacers, placed on conical concrete blocks and welded at the joint. Below, many 10 cm × 20 cm support plates are connected to the rail, which are poured into the concrete slab together with plastic dowels. The rail is then screwed on later with a rubber insert.


Web links

Commons : Slab Track  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Different systems:

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f Günter Oberweiler: Development of solid roads for fast RS vehicles . In: Hans Matthöfer (ed.): Technologies for rail systems , Umschau-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1977, ISBN 3-524-10019-8 ( research current ), pp. 83-95.
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o J. Eisenmann, G. Leykauf: Fixed carriageway for rail tracks. In: Concrete Calendar 2000 BK2. Verlag Ernst & Sohn, Berlin 2000, pp. 291–298.
  3. Without author: The project for the new Cologne – Rhine / Main line. In: Eisenbahn Journal: Tempo 300 - The new Cologne – Frankfurt line . Special edition 3/2002, ISBN 3-89610-095-5 , pp. 34–63.
  4. a b Get out of the gravel bed! . In: ZUG , No. 1, 1995, without ISSN, pp. 28-32.
  5. ^ A b Tino Zippel: Problem with missing steel in the concrete . In: Ostthüringer Zeitung , Gera regional edition . June 17, 2015, p. 4 (similar version among other titles online ).
  6. a b c d e f g h i j Edgar Darr, Werner Fiebig: Slab track: Innovative track type of track . In: Your train . tape 43 , no. 4 , 2015, ISSN  0172-4479 , p. 32-38 .
  7. a b c d Konrad H. Naue, Wolfram Neuhöfer: The conception of the DB for the further development of ballastless superstructures for future new lines . In: Die Bundesbahn , 8/1988, pp. 855–864.
  8. Reinhard Pospilschil: Effects of a changed superstructure on the routing of the new and upgraded lines of the Deutsche Bundesbahn . Dissertation, Technical University of Munich, 1991 ( reports from the testing office for the construction of land transport routes of the Technical University of Munich , ISSN  0341-5538 , issue 62), pp. 179–182.
  9. "Slab tracks tend to spring better" . In: DB Welt , January 2009 edition, p. 14.
  10. a b c Lothar Friedrich, Albert Bindinger: The components of the route for the ICE system in the test . In: Eisenbahntechnische Rundschau , 1992, issue 6, pp. 391–396.
  11. a b c d e f Wolfgang Pißler: Slab track for the railroad - will an old idea become reality? . In: Baukultur , Heft 3, 1994, pp. 46-49, ISSN  0722-3099 .
  12. a b c Oliver Kraft: Experiences of the Deutsche Bahn AG with the slab track . In: Der Eisenbahningenieur , Issue 6/2012, pp. 12–15.
  13. Slab track system RHEDA 2000®: high speed in perfection. In: website. PCM RAIL.ONE AG; Dammstrasse 5; D-92318 Neumarkt, accessed on September 22, 2017 .
  14. Planungsgesellschaft Bahnbau Deutsche Einheit (Ed.): Middle class parliamentary group of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group of the German Bundestag: Conversation with Prof. Dr. S. Deficiencies, spokesman for the management of the Planungsgesellschaft Bahnbau Deutsche Einheit mbH (PB DE) (…) . Berlin, February 9, 1995, p. 10.
  15. Comprehensive renewal of the slab track on route 6132 from track km 136,000 to km 150,900 section Roitzsch – Hohenthurm. (PDF; 4.4 MB) (No longer available online.) In: Website. KREBS + KIEFER Service GmbH; Hilpertstrasse 20; D-64295 Darmstadt, September 29, 2014, archived from the original on September 22, 2017 ; accessed on September 22, 2017 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  16. a b Walter Antlauf, Norbert Dotzer: Track renewal of the Roitzsch - Hohenthurm section. (PDF; 6.4 MB) (No longer available online.) In: Website. Max Bögl Group; P.O. Box 11 20; D-92301 Neumarkt id OPf., October 2013, formerly in the original ; accessed on September 22, 2017 .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  17. a b High speed in China with FF Bögl . In: Max Bögl Group (Ed.): MB square . 2010, p. 18-19 ( [PDF]). PDF ( Memento of the original from November 1, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  18. a b c Peter Laborenz, Walter Stahl, Thomas Silbermann: 50 years of slab track in Switzerland . In: Der Eisenbahningenieur (Ed.): Heft . No. 11 . DVV Media Group GmbH | Eurailpress, Hamburg November 2014, p. 32-35 .
  19. LOW VIBRATION TRACK (LVT). SONNEVILLE AG, CH-3225 Müntschemier, Switzerland, 2018, accessed on October 19, 2018 (English).
  20. Appitrack - The fastest tracklaying technology. (PDF; 230 kB) (No longer available online.) In: Website. Alstom SA, September 16, 2016, formerly in the original ; accessed on January 2, 2018 .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  21. Une expérimentation stratégique d'une voie sur dalle béton. In: website. SNCF Réseau, 19 May 2015, accessed on 2 January 2018 (French).
  22. Alstom's new cutting-edge slab track technology enters test mode in Russia. In: website. Alstom SA, November 2014, accessed January 2, 2018 .
  23. Alstom receives EBA certification for its solid concrete carriageway solution for long-distance traffic. In: website. Alstom SA, December 1, 2016, accessed January 2, 2018 .
  24. KRUPP ECF system. In: website. Thyssenkrupp Schulte , May 20, 2015, accessed on August 2, 2018 .
  25. Home - Slab Track. In: website. Solid Slab Track GmbH, 2017, accessed on August 2, 2018 .
  26. Ballastless track 'System NBU' - concept, implementation and documentation. (PDF; 2.8 MB) In: Website. Solid Slab Track GmbH, September 2008, accessed on August 2, 2018 .
  27. ^ Vossloh AG: System DFF 304. Retrieved April 30, 2019 .
  28. Documentation of slab track IVES. (PDF) In: Rhomberg Bau. Retrieved April 30, 2019 .
  29. Reference list IVES. (PDF) In: Rhomberg Rail. Retrieved April 30, 2019 .
  30. From tradition to modernity. February 26, 2019, accessed on April 30, 2019 (Swiss Standard German).
  31. a b c The railway on fixed paths . In: Die Bahn informs , Issue 1, 1989, p. 10 f. ZDB ID 2003143-9
  32. The InterCity Express - result of the funding of rail research by the BMFT . In: Eisenbahntechnische Rundschau , 40 (1991), issue 5/6, p. 377.
  33. ^ A b Diethard Affeldt: Railway test facility Rheine – Spelle – Freren . In: Eisenbahntechnische Rundschau , Volume 29, Issue 10, pp. 685–696.
  34. ^ Theophil Rahn: Express rail traffic - a challenge and necessity for the new railway . In: R. Kracke (Ed.): Railway on New Paths - Research and Innovation for Rail Transport of the Future ( Scientific Work , No. 30), Institute for Transport, Railway Construction and Operation of the University of Hanover, Hanover, 1987.
  35. Horst Ritthaler: ABS Günzburg – Augsburg . In: Die Bundesbahn , 64, No. 10, 1988, ISSN  0007-5876 , pp. 1017-1020.
  36. Peter Münchschwander (Ed.): The high-speed system of the German Federal Railroad . R. v. Decker's Verlag G. Schenk, Heidelberg 1990, ISBN 3-7685-3089-2 , p. 123.
  37. Heinz Dürr , Knut Reimers (Ed.): High-speed traffic . 1st edition. Hestra-Verlag, 1991, ISBN 3-7771-0234-2 ( Yearbook of Railways , Volume 42), p. 123
  38. ^ Planungsgesellschaft Bahnbau Deutsche Einheit (Ed.): Transport project German Unity Rail No. 8: ABS / NBS Nürnberg-Erfurt-HalleLeipzigBerlin: Section Erfurt - Leipzig / Halle: Planning status June 1994 . Brochure, Leipzig, 1994.
  39. Deutsche Bundesbahn (Ed.), Main Department Track Projects of the Federal Railway Directorate Nuremberg: Across the river and through the mountains: The connecting curve Nantenbach . Brochure (16 A4 pages), Nuremberg, 1993, p. 10.
  40. DBProjekt GmbH Cologne – Rhein / Main, project management (publisher): New Cologne – Rhein / Main line: A concept of today for tomorrow's traffic , brochure (28 pages), Frankfurt am Main, March 2000, p. 20.
  41. Solid speed and comfort: the slab track . In: On the subject , ZDB -ID 2115698-0 , edition 5/2000, October 2000, pp. 4-6.
  42. Concreted paths quickly bring rescuers to the site . In: Netznachrichten . No. 1 , 2013, ZDB -ID 2548162-9 , p. 7 ( [PDF; 1.1 MB ]).
  43. Falk Hebenstreit, Ruby Schwurack, René Kipper, Jürgen Wolf: Flood June 2013 - Flooding of a slab track and the consequences . In: Railway technical review . tape 63 , no. 3 , 2014, ISSN  0013-2845 , p. 22–27 ( [PDF]).
  44. ^ Route 6132, Bitterfeld - Halle; Renewal of slab track, km 150.9 - 155.6; Residential information. (PDF; 2.4 MB) In: Website. DB Netz AG; Theodor-Heuss-Allee 7; D-60486 Frankfurt, December 12, 2016, p. 7 , accessed on September 22, 2017 .
  45. ↑ The high-speed Cologne-Rhine / Main line will again be double-tracked from November 18. In: Deutsche Bahn, October 26, 2018, accessed on October 26, 2018 .
  46. a b Peter Laborenz, Walter Stahl, Thomas Silbermann: Gotthard Base Tunnel completes LVT installation . In: Railway Gazette International . tape 171 , no. 1 , January 2015, ISSN  0373-5346 , p. 40-43 .
  47. ^ Thomas Rubi: Refurbishment of the slab track in the Heitersberg tunnel. (PDF) (No longer available online.) In: . Swiss Federal Railways SBB, archived from the original on November 4, 2016 ; accessed on November 2, 2016 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  48. Vigier Rail: Swiss premiere for LVT on long bridges. Vigier Rail, September 15, 2015, accessed November 4, 2016 .
  49. Juan Juan Ren, Bernhard Lechner: Slab track test route Suining – Chongqing in China . In: Der Eisenbahningenieur , Issue July 2008, pp. 39–45
  50. LGV Est. services begin . In: Today's railways Europe . Issue 138, June 2007, ISSN  1354-2753 , pp. 32-40.
  51. Home - Slab Track. Retrieved on August 1, 2018 (German).