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Soil reinforcement speeds up Romanian railway system

CONTRACTS

WORK ON a 225km stretch of Romania's railway system will make it possible for trains to reach higher speeds on its completion in 2009, thanks to an innovative soil reinforcement process.

The 2665M (£449M) project, which started in April 2006, is being carried out along the Bucharest to Constanta line to enable passenger trains to travel at speeds of up to 200km/h and freight trains to reach 140km/h.

The major upgrade partly relies on two elements - the use of Naue & Co KG's Secugrid polypropylene geogrid, and a new method of installation that replaces the existing railway.

This section of line is part of the Fourth Pan European Corridor linking western Europe to south east European and Middle East countries, stretching 1,395km.

Large quantities of the geogrid are installed using a specialist 2km long RPM 2002 train that is much cheaper than using alternative heavy plant and traditional techniques.

The train, operated by up to 40 people, can complete the work at a pace of 500m each day and can excavate at depths up to 1.8m.

The train operates in a single run.

It lifts existing rails, excavating and cleaning the sub-base, mixing it with the new mineral material and laying the geogrid formation protection layer and crushed stone, before nally laying down the rails.

Phase one of the two-stage project is the line from Bucharest North station to Bucharest Baneasa, and from Fetesti to Constanta. The scheme's second phase will see work carried out between Baneasa and Fundulea and then onto Fetesti.

It is anticipated that when the upgrade is complete, the new line will be able to carry 224 trains each day. The railway is intended to be compatible with the European Train Control System; a signalling system designed to replace existing incompatible arrangements operating across Europe.

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