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Greenrail railway sleepers: a project on the right track

Greenway, a recently-founded Milanese (Italy) company, has developed railway sleepers made up of an internal core of reinforced concrete and an outer envelope made from recycled plastic waste and old rubber tires.
Greenrail railway sleepers: a project on the right track
Greenrail railway sleepers: a project on the right track

They plan to integrate piezoelectric devices and sensors to recover solar energy and convert it into electricity, as well as devices for transferring security data.

Smart and durable railway sleepers: a small revolution in this sector of the railway industry which has not seen much change almost since the dawn of time! Initially made from wood, they were replaced by concrete around a hundred years ago, and have not changed since then. They do have their disadvantages, such as creating a lot of noise and vibrations, and requiring costly maintenance.

Installing the Greenrail railway sleepers would reduce installation and maintenance costs by 50%, and the mix of plastic waste and rubber composing the sleepers’ outer layer makes it possible to re-use up to 35 tonnes of those materials for each kilometre of a railway line. Given that a one-kilometre line comprises 1,670 sleepers and that most countries’ railway networks stretch over thousands of kilometres – Germany alone has over 41,000 km, the ecological and economic potential of this new technology is clear for all to see!

To date, Greenrail has received 3.5 million in financing under the European Horizon 2020 programme, and was chosen from among the hundreds of the world’s most innovative projects. The Greenrail technology is patented in 148 countries, and the company recently signed a contract with the American company SafePower1 for the industrialisation and commercialisation of its products: enough to put Greenrail on the track to success!

Durable, resistant, economical and smart, it seems that the world of railway sleepers is entering a new era!

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