Railway Tracks Vs Sand (10K€ + IP in prizes)
Help us to find new solutions to minimize, maintain and clean up sand covering the railways tracks High speed rail is becoming more popular and expanding into many countries. And this brings new challenges such the one related to crossing deserts: extremely adverse geological and weather conditions and a train route covering kilometers of dunes and strong winds. However, the biggest challenge is the sand covering the tracks, due continuous advance of the dunes, sandstorms and sand in suspension. More specifically, 80 km of railway tracks end up buried under the sand every day in the Medina - La Meca high speed train. This problem has many consequences, such as:
- Increased inspections, maintenance and cleaning of the railways, and thus, their respectively costs.
- Reduced railway speed and schedule delays
- It can cover the route and, therefore, derailment and fouling of switches and culverts can be given
- It can cause grind down and erosion of the elements (electrification, communications and signaling…)
- The power system for the electric train tracks is called ballast. When sand gets into the ballast, it can make weight distribution uneven and can prevent rain´s drainage.
- Contamination of the ballast (loss of mechanical properties, deterioration of sleepers, rail…).