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Netherlands High Speed Rail

Mott MacDonald was closely involved with the Netherlands High Speed Line (HSL) from the early design stages, during construction and finally, independent safety assessment and validation of elements of the railway.

Trackform optioneering and selection

One of our railway track specialists worked closely with Infraspeed, the consortium commissioned to design and construct the HSL rail systems, to identify a suitable trackform for the project. This entailed a detailed analysis of the characteristics and performances of a variety of ballastless trackforms in use in Europe and Asia Pacific. Interviews were carried out with a number of users and suppliers of ballastless trackforms and site visits made to verify the performance of existing installations. A key requirement was to identify a product that required minimal maintenance throughout the asset life. This work culminated in the recommendation that the Rheda 2000 track system be used, based on products that had performed successfully in Germany.

Design change review (HSL Belgium border)

Because of difficult terrain on the approaches to the Belgium border which may have resulted in unpredictable and uneven settlement of the track, Mott MacDonald carried out a design review, whole life cost and risk assessment of proposed alternative trackforms for deployment in this location. This work concluded with the recommendation that ballasted track could be installed.

Independent safety assessment

Mott MacDonald joined with Holland Rail Consult (now Movares) to carry out the independent safety assessment of the HSL track systems. Safety validation reports were prepared for dissemination to the Dutch Government among others, based on ENs 50126 and 50129. A key issue for us was to verify that lessons learned following the Eschede derailment in Germany had been implemented on HSL since significant parts of the design pre-dated this disaster.

Independent design checks

We were commissioned by Rheda 2000 to carry out an independent design verification of variants of the Rheda 2000 trackform used on HSL. Separate manual calculations and computer-based finite element analyses were carried out in parallel to ensure that the outcomes of the verification process were not in doubt.

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