Posted on April 13, 2022
Each year, we install around 300 bills of exchange. But do they always have to be new bills? And what becomes of the old? While the shortage of materials is increasing as fast as the prices of raw materials and CO2 emissions, the implementation phase of a promising pilot is starting in Zeeland and West Brabant: the renewal of tracks with recycled materials. The key to success: trust, openness, honesty and just doing it!
Significant environmental gain
Reuse can save around 4300 tonnes of CO2 environmental gain per year. This is equivalent to the CO2 absorption of about two thousand trees. Nevertheless, reuse is not yet a common practice for railway materials. “We knew two things at the start of this project: we want to innovate and we want to make it more sustainable. The only question was how,” says Bas Rodigas, construction manager at ProRail. “That’s why we first had to go over the drawing board with the contractor to define and determine the objectives. This resulted in an enthusiastic project team from ProRail and VolkerRail.”
We wanted to innovate and make it more sustainable. The only question was how.
To have a lasting impact, without compromising time, quality and safety, an innovative and creative process is required. After all, you’re not just reusing switches, sleepers, or rails. “It has to be safe and follow all sorts of rules,” says Mario Pieper, project manager at VolkerRail. “Now that these criteria have been established and tested, we can collect, test and refurbish the materials if necessary. We do this now in a large warehouse in Wijk bij Duurstede. »
The big switch thing
A switch from Binckhorst to The Hague is located on a vast industrial site, between mountains of rails and heaps of sleepers. Ready for control. “We transported it in its entirety and replaced the wooden sleepers with plastic alternatives,” says Bas. “We use a switch gauge to check whether the distance between the rails is exactly within the margins. This device also uses ultrasonic waves to check for cracks in the steel. All tests OK? Then this switch will soon be introduced in Moerdijk. »
Both gentlemen see the result positively, both of the substitution and of the driver. “This change has been approved and can last at least another 15 years. But it will not be used so intensively at this freight station in Zeeland,” says Bas. “That’s why he’ll probably survive the 25 years very well.”
Either way, it’s a win. “It’s a material that would otherwise end up as scrap,” Mario explains. “And it’s not about a switch or a project,” Bas adds. “The best thing would be if we could show that this way of reusing works and that it will soon become the norm. Is it necessary to check the amount of CO2money and new material that we can then save!
The pilot is a test bed in which we think outside the box of normal politics. After careful evaluation, if it appears that this is possible, the invoice reuse policy will be adjusted.
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