WIRAS - Innovative Switch & Crossing Design is a book about a new type of railway switch that offers solutions for many of the problems that arise with the current railway switch design
These problems are not unique to switches in the Netherlands and they include: sensitivity to falling leaves and cold weather, which is often the cause of failures in the train timetable; and, expensive point heating, with high CO2 emissions, due to the high power consumption of the point heating in which 10% of the energy is consumed for the heating of the points and 90% of the energy is lost for heating the outside air! The WIRAS design railway-switch can function in cold weather without point heating.
In addition, the new switch removes the occurrence of the well-known wheelrail contact noises, and causes less wear on switchfrogs and train wheels, which in turn has significant positive consequences for passenger comfort and maintenance costs. The basic technical principle of the railway switch design currently in use, was invented at a time when two short trains came by every day, with a very low axle load and low driving speeds (Inventor: Charles Fox, 1832 Smethwick, London Works).
Today, rail traffic makes highly intensive use of the current railway network. Many more trains per day, and much higher axle loads at higher driving speeds and many more axles per train, is resulting in problems through constantly overstressing the traditional railway switches in the modern rail-network, resulting in permanent high costs for the society. Rail traffic occupies a very important place in today's society.
A railway switch takes a very important place in the current rail network. A railway switch is the most vulnerable and most important element in a rail network. For that reason it is very strange that it is especially the railway switch that, through many years, has not yet been developed into a modern element that meets the highest standards of the modern railway-industry. This book describes how and why the idea for the design of a radical new switch type, the WIRAS-design, was originated. This book presents and examines the technological advantages and dis-advantages of the WIRASdesign railway switch.
The 8 years of design and research & development of this new type of switch, is described with many drawings, sectionviews, photographs and diagrams of both the subsystems, variants and prototypes. The book considers the response from the conservative railway-industry and governments to this fresh, innovative, out-of-the-box and radically different railway switch design. It discusses how the concept is slowly but surely becoming increasingly recognized, embraced and accepted as a potential and promising solution for the future. Finally, it also answers the question of why a new railwayswitch with the aforementioned technical and socio-economic benefits, is still not part of the European rail network. Yet…..