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Sand consist changes for improved track circuit performance (COF-UOS-03)

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sadegh NadimiORCiD



This is the final published version of a report that has been published in its final definitive form by Rail Safety and Standards Board, 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


As part of the RSSB and University of Sheffield partnership focussed on tribology at the wheel/rail interface, this project tested and analysed newly developed sand products designed to enhance track circuit performance. At present, sand discharge rates are limited to avoid impacting the signalling system, however there is potential for greater adhesion benefits with higher rates. These new products could provide a solution.To determine suitability with current operations and standards, five enhanced sand products and two typical products currently used in GB were tested in the laboratory. Two of the newly developed products were then further evaluated against GB rail sand via field testing and found to produce less track circuit interference.By implementing enhanced sand products which are optimised to increase electrical continuity between wheel and rail, the risk of wheel/rail isolation is reduced which improves train operational safety.Further work, including in-service testing and an investigation of the economic benefits of targeted implementation, could build a case for using these products (potentially at higher discharge rates compared to GB rail sand).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Skipper W, Nadimi S, Lewis R

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title:

Year: 2021

Print publication date: 25/12/2021

Acceptance date: 08/12/2021

Report Number: PB028922

Institution: Rail Safety and Standards Board

Place Published: United Kingdom