Major Results of Research and Development in Fiscal 2014

This publication is a collection of the major results obtained from research undertaken by the Japanese public body, the Railway Technology Research Institute, in 2014.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all JR companies in particuar and all the research centres, universities, industrial partners and other entities which have offered their cooperation, commitment and support to achieve these results and without whom none of this work would have been possible.

Ⅰ. Improvement of Safety

1. Seismic ground motion simulator applicable to M9 earthquakes

  • The simulator can estimate seismic ground motion during M9 earthquakes.
  • In the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku earthquake, the difference between observed and simulated values in terms of the JMA seismic intensity scale was within ±1.
  • Simulated ground motion can be used for seismic retrofitting of structures to withstand the forecast great earthquake along the Nankai Trough.

2. Seismic Hazard simulator for railways

  • A simulator was designed to identify locations on the railway network vulnerable to earthquakes.
  • Comparison of simulated results with actual damage confirmed the accuracy of damage evaluation using this simulator.

3. Early warning system employing ocean bottom seismometer data

  • This method proposes to employ ocean bottom seismometer data collected by public institutions for an early warning system.
  • Telecommunication specifications and quality management technology are also proposed, in order to guarantee the reliability of the warnings.
  • The proposed method should increase the spare warning time for marine earthquakes occurring near submarine observation points.

4. Development of Railway Embankment Structures Resistant to severe Earthquakes and Prolonged Overflows caused by Tsunamis

  • A new design method and embankment structure have been developed to reduce earthquake damage and increase resistance to prolonged overflows caused by tsunamis, by combining geosynthetics reinforced soil methods and cemented gravelly-soil slabs.

5. Measures against buckling of ballasted track during earthquakes

  • A test method was developed to quantitatively evaluate the stability of buckling on ballasted track during earthquakes.
  • Based on results of this evaluation method, it was found that employing sleeper anchors could reduce lateral sleeper displacement during earthquakes by up to a tenth, thereby confirming improved track buckling stability.

6. Disaster Hazard Mapping Technology

  • New technology has been developed to permit the display of natural hazards related to rain, wind, snow and rockfalls, in map form.
  • The integrated display can show disaster factors, the magnitude of external forces and probability of occurrence together, thus assisting the preparation of disaster prevention plans.

7. Method for diagnosing condition of concrete roadbed in tunnels

  • A vibrating device was designed to facilitate the diagnosis of the state of health of concrete railway roadbeds in tunnels.
  • Based on the concrete roadbed’s ease of movement, it is possible to determine whether or not it has developed cavities.

8. Analytical method for evaluating carbody safety aimed at reducing passenger injury in case of level crossing collisions

  • A relationship was identified between passenger injuries in level crossing collisions and the integrated value of carbody impact acceleration.
  • It is possible to reduce passenger injuries in level crossing collisions by designing the carbody structure to lower the integrated value of the carbody impact acceleration.

9. Bogie to control decrement in wheel load

  • With a view to increasing protection against flange climb derailment, a bogie was developed which suppresses decreases in wheel load with a rotating mechanism installed between the side beams and cross beam on a bogie frame.
  • Confirmation was obtained that this new system suppresses decreases in wheel load by approximately 40% compared to normal bogies.

10. Mechanical pneumatic steering system with failsafe function

  • A mechanical pneumatic steering system has been developed, which is light weight, compact and does not reverse steer.
  • Running tests at RTRI confirmed that the new system reduces lateral forces by 80% in curves.

11. Gear oil for Shinkansen trains with improved startability in low temperature conditions

  • An improved gear oil has been developed to permit safe starting of gear units at temperatures as low as -30°C.
  • This highly purified mineral base oil offers better low temperature fluidity, with reducing cost increase.

12. Process to select appropriate sounds to convey in-cab driver alerts

  • A process has been developed to select what kind of sound signals should be used for in-cab alarms or alerts.
  • This process facilitates the selection of sounds or voice messages to match the level of urgency.

13. Training in communication techniques for train dispatchers in disrupted situations

  • A training method was developed in order to give train dispatchers the necessary communication skills for giving instructions or orders in disrupted situations.
  • This method was shown to improve the accuracy and smoothness of communication in disrupted situations, and cooperative behavior.

Ⅱ. Harmonization with the Environment

14. Hood with inside partition to reduce micro-pressure waves

  • As a measure to reduce micro-pressure waves as Shinkansen train speeds increase, a hood with an inside partition has been developed. The micro-pressure wave mitigating properties of these hoods were verified using theoretical analysis and model experiments.

15. Improved accuracy train energy consumption simulator

  • A traction power supply simulator has been developed with coupled analysis between fixed installations, rolling stock and driving pattern.
  • An algorithm for generating speed profiles was developed to generate average energy consumption speed profiles during commercial service, and energy-saving speed profiles.

16. Induction predicting simulator applicable to data transmission frequency bands

  • A simulator was developed for quantitatively predicting inducted voltage and current up to data transmission frequency bands of 1MHz and above.
  • The extended ability to consider more conditions relating to fixed installations has led to an improvement of 10% in accuracy of prediction.

17. Production of a 300m class superconducting feeder cable

  • A 310 m superconducting feeder cable was built along with a cooling system. Its functions were then verified with running tests.

Ⅲ. Cost Reduction

18. Renovation technology for large scale station widening work

  • A new design method was developed for large scale underground station extension work and building connections between old and new tunnels.
  • The tunnel connecting work method can offer cost savings of approximately 10% compared with existing techniques.

19. System for monitoring soundness of railway bridges

  • Using wireless technology, an inspection method was developed to monitor the state of railway bridges.
  • A method was proposed to diagnose the soundness of railway bridge piers using indices correlated highly with the natural frequencies of bridge piers.

20. System for evaluating the stability of rock slopes using remote-contactless measurements

  • A remote contactless measuring system was developed to observe oscillations and the shape of rock blocks on rock slopes. A tool to evaluate the stability of these boulders by performing FEM analyses on the collected data was then developed.
  • The present system allows detailed numerical analysis evaluation and simple nomogram based evaluation.

21. Track maintenance planning systems applying very frequently measured track irregularity data

  • A method for predicting rapidly degrading track irregularity and diagnosis model were developed for use with very frequently measured track irregularity data, which were then used to develop a track maintenance planning system.
  • In addition to track maintenance planning, the system can be used for diagnosing rapidly deteriorating track irregularity, and diagnosing track condition.

22. Rail gas pressure welding process applicable without specialist welding skills

  • Following the development of a simplified rail end surface grinding process and automatic burner oscillator, a new gas pressure welding process for rails has been proposed, which does not require specialist knowledge or skills for operation.
  • Verifications confirmed that the new process offers the same performance as the previous method.

23. Updating of on-board train safety database using wireless technology

  • A new method has been developed using wireless technology to update the on-board safety databases on trains.
  • While checking data validity, this system allows efficient simultaneous updating of multiple databases.

24. Device for determining AC feeder lightening arrester damage

  • A device has been developed to determine whether arresters with zinc oxide (ZnO) elements have been damaged.
  • Given that deterioration can be determined using this method by measuring current leakage from ground wires, power cutting is no longer required.

Ⅳ. Improvement of Convenience

25. Method for assessing seamlessness of passenger mobility in the railway transport system

  • A method has been developed to quantitatively assess the seamlessness of passenger mobility in the railway system.
  • The method helps to identify bottleneck stations on intercity and city railway networks, and can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of improvement measures.

26. Railway Freight Transport Evaluation method

  • A synthetic method to evaluate railway freight transport has been developed, composed of a model-based quantitative evaluation of freight transport for economic efficiency, and system to visualize train’s loading conditions for each corridor.
  • This method can be used to identify railway freight related problems and to assess the effectiveness of any improvement measures.

27. Small, low-cost pneumatic centering cylinder for tilting trains

  • A small, low-cost pneumatic cylinder has been developed to mitigate lateral bump stop hitting when running through curves, and which does not require, electrical controllers and sensors.
  • The new device improves the lateral ride quality level (LT) of tilting vehicles, which use air-springs as tilting actuators, by 2-4dB.

Ⅴ. Basic Research

28. Construction of large-scale coupled wheel-rail-ballast analytical model

  • A dynamic rolling contact analysis model has been built in which wheel/rail plastic deformation can be considered.
  • Dynamic response and subsidence behavior of the tracks can be evaluated by the constructed model based on Quadruple Discrete Element Method (QDEM).

29. Wear mode map of current collecting materials

  • An electrical contact model was developed considering film resistance in electrical wear on current collecting materials. Insight was then gathered into “melting bridge” generation, and an electrical wear map was produced.
  • The wear mode map can be used for predicting the wear mode and can contribute to future material development.

30. Mechanisms of flow-induced vibrations of trains running in tunnels

  • To clarify the mechanisms underlying vibrations in high-speed trains running through tunnels, a simplified model was used for analysis. This demonstrated that meandering air underbody air flows generate train vibrations in tunnels.

Ⅰ.1, Ⅰ.2, Ⅱ.17, Ⅲ.18, Ⅲ.19, Ⅲ.20 Received funding from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.