Railway Field Laboratory

deutsche Version

Ongoing development and optimisation of the railway infrastructure by means of newly developed components calls for an approach based on a consideration of the overall superstructure-vehicle system, and one which gives consideration to the aspects of noise reduction, safety and security, operation, and lifecycle costs. Remedies for many problems are offered by the Railway Field Laboratory operated by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) together with the Swiss Federal Office of Transport (FOT), Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) and the Allianz Fahrweg (“Swiss Permanent Way Alliance”). The Laboratory comprises measurement installations on seven measurement cross-sections along a 1-km length of SBB track between Sempach and Rothenburg. Around 45,000 trains run on this section each year. Hard sleeper padding and unpadded B91 concrete sleepers were installed on the test track, with adjacent wooden sleepers on both sides.

Developments over time, and the influence of environmental conditions on the overall railway system, can be observed on the reference track with continuous recording of all parameters. Permanent basic equipment comprising sensor technology, data acquisition and a data management system allows statistically validated statements about the effects of modifications to individual components, and a structural-dynamic baseline guarantees the comparability of the trials. Müller-BBM Rail Technologies GmbH was engaged to operate the measurement infrastructure and for the data management.

Information on measurement data, results and reports

On this basis, operators and authorities as well as researchers and developers obtain detailed insights and information. As a general rule, the knowledge acquired and the results obtained are publicly accessible. The objective is to develop a Competence Centre for noise, vibration and LCC in the railway environment from which as many research groups and rail-related enterprises as possible will be able to benefit.


BAFU Situationsplan Fahrbahnlabor

Use of the Railway Field Laboratory

The permanent measuring installation comprises basic measurement sensor and measurement technology equipment which is permanently installed on the test track. The measurement technology continuously supplies operational running data which is evaluated and made available to interested parties.

Information on measurement data, results and reports

Project partners may carry out their own project-related measurements on the test track. Installation of additional measurement technology, special measuring runs, changes to the railway installation and to the superstructure are possible on request, provided that safety, security and operational running are guaranteed at all times.

The Federal government is the owner of the data and it regulates the use thereof. As a general rule, the data is publicly accessible. The Railway Field Laboratory is managed, and the data is collected and managed, by Müller-BBM Rail Technologies GmbH on behalf of the Federal government.

We will be glad to send you detailed data and to receive your enquiries.

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Real-time level on the measurement track