Throughout the works period, the Eastern branch of the Rhine-Rhone high-speed line will boost the local economy in a number of very different ways.
Following the completion of civil engineering operations, work on the eastern branch of the Rhine-Rhone high-speed line has now entered the railway equipment phase. More than 700 people are currently working on site each day.
To operate trains at high speeds, it is necessary to have track on which they can run, power to drive them, a signalling system to control traffic and a telecommunications systems to transmit information. Installing the railway equipment (track, overhead lines, signalling and telecommunications systems, electrical power supply installations and technical buildings), from the time the first cable arteries are laid to the moment when the overhead power line is energised, represents the final stage in the build-up to tests (Spring 2011) and line commissioning (11 December 2011).
Track laying is the final operation in the construction of a high-speed line. It is an operation where precision is vital, since maximum tolerances are in the region of just 5mm!
For linear structures such as railway lines, the standard practice is to deliver the different parts to the site in the following order:
Since 29 June 2009 (laying of the first rail), the contractors have been busy laying the final track for the line. The process involves 10 key steps:
1) Physically staking out the subgrade.
2) Construction of a temporary track using 18m panels (18m-long rails secured to timber sleepers).
3) Bringing the continuous welded rails (CWR) and placing them alongside the temporary track (Track 1) and on the subgrade where the second track will be laid
4) Delivery of ballast to the temporary track
5) Removal of the temporary track panels and installation of reinforced concrete sleepers by means of special gantries and positioning of the CWR on these sleepers.
6) Preparing a ballast sub-layer on the bed of the second track
7) Laying and adjusting the sleepers on the second track and positioning the CWR on these sleepers
8) Clearance of ballast to enable track lifting operations
9) Installations of points & crossings (switches)
10) De-stressing the CWR
11) Supplementary levelling
12) Finishing operations
Track laying in figures: