Start of track overhaul Moerdijkbrug
On behalf of ProRail, Strukton Rail has started work on overhauling the rail tracks on the Moerdijkbrug.
This track overhaul is necessary to make the Moerdijkbrug a safe and reliable bridge for trains. The work will be carried out during a shutdown of 17 days. On Saturday morning 12 August 2017, before the start of services, we expect the tracks to be safe for trains again. Unlimited operations will then be possible again.
Reinforcing the bridge
The Moerdijkbrug consists of five separate bridge sections. Prior to our work, ProRail reinforced the bridge abutments with extra pieces of steel to reduce bending. This will prevent any fatigue occurring in the railway tracks.
Long compensation systems
Each bridge section is around 200 metres long. This steel bridge expands in warm weather and contracts in cold weather. To enable the train to travel safely over the track, at the transition points from one section to another or to dry land, special provisions are required to accommodate these changes in length. On the Moerdijk, it was decided to build these compensation systems with longer rails: up to 157 metres! Consequently, only the two compensation systems need to be welded to each other on a bridge section. This will be done by means of two aluminothermic welds in the middle of each bridge section. This is a unique process which has never been done before.
Besides these compensation systems and termite welding, there is also ES welding on the bridge. These ES welds are small openings in the track. Passing trains connect the two ends of these openings with their wheels, creating contact. Through that contact, the traffic control knows where the trains are. These ES welds last a maximum of ten years. To be able to professionally replace these welds in ten years' time, we make holes of 50 by 50 centimetres on both sides of the ES welds so that they can be easily changed.
On dry land, the rails are assembled with screws on wood or concrete sleepers which are laid in stone chippings. On the Moerdijkbrug, the rails are poured in a cover in which channels are formed. The rails are placed in this and then embedded with a rubber emulsion. To be able to renew the rails, the old rails are cut out of the channel with a so-called pizza cutter and disposed of. After the channels have been cleaned, the new rails can be put in place and embedded. Renewing embedded rails is very intensive work and requires the technological knowledge of Strukton.