Microwaves - utilising microwave technology to condition the rail in-front of each wheel
The Imagination Factory
The key components which affect rail wheel adhesion are a thin film of rain water and damp, flattened leaf detritus which creates a hard friction layer on the top of the rail. The 'Summer braking all year round' project solution uses microwave energy to dissipate that layer of water from the rail surface. This solution offers a zero contact method of conditioning the rail which can be mounted to each train ahead of the wheel rail interface. This will enable each train to ensure controlled braking in all environmental conditions.
This energy efficient microwave technology has not been utilised previously in the conditioning and removal of water from the railhead. Benefits could potentially include improved adhesion, reduced delays, reduced maintenance costs.
A prototype was demonstrated on a test track in September 2018.