You are here

Greenrail: innovative & eco-sustainable railway sleepers

Greenrail track

Type of organisation or company:

Country: 
Italy
City: 
Milan

Language for original content:

Project elaborated in partnership: 
No

Scope:

Greenrail - Dawid Janik

Contact details

Description: 

Trains are among the most popular means of transport, and because of their economic and environmental aspects, their use should increase in the next years as locomotives and cars get more and more technologically advanced, comfortable, fast and efficient.

The railway infrastructure sector, however, has not undergone any innovation in the past decades. The standard solution, nowadays, consists of concrete railway sleepers, introduced at the beginning of the 20th century. Since this technology is already quite out-of-date, it entails numerous problems, such as:

  • ballast pulverization,
  • high noise and vibration levels, and,
  • last, but not least - elevated maintenance costs.

Greenrail sleepers are in fact sustainable, as they are made of recycled plastic and rubber collected from End-of-Life Tyres (ELTs). They consist of an outer cover made of a blend of ELTs and recycled plastic, and an inner core of pre-stressed, reinforced concrete. They guarantee all the mechanical characteristics of the railway sleepers for various types of rail lines - including high-speed ones, thus offering countless advantages.

Main results: 

Greenrail sleepers offer the following advantages:

  •     smaller pulverization of the ballast and, as a result, reduction of maintenance costs;
  •     longer lifespan;
  •     greater resistance to rails’ lateral displacement;
  •     significant electrical isolation;
  •     greater resistance to the freezing / thawing phenomenon;
  •     concrete inner core’s protection from sand in desert regions;
  •     reduction of vibration and noise levels deriving from railway traffic;
  •     product’s traceability thanks to the RFID technology;
  •     recovery and reuse of tonnes of plastic and ELTs: 1670 Greenrail sleepers (equal to 1 km of rail line) contribute to the recovery of up to 35 tonnes of ELTs and plastic from urban waste.



In addition, the innovative structure of Greenrail sleepers allows to incorporate various systems in its structure, such as photovoltaic panels (Greenrail Solar, with a production capacity of 35 MWh/km/year) or smart devices (Greenrail LinkBox, which uses harvested energy to power systems for real-time diagnosis, predictive maintenance, telecommunication etc.).