The Neoballast R&D project carries out its pilot test


COMSA’s Technical and Innovation Area has launched the Neoballast pilot test, a new ballast developed by the company, in collaboration with Spanish, Belgian and Italian companies, as part of the European Union’s “Fast Track to Innovation” programme.

Neoballast is a new sustainable solution for ballast, the material used as a railway track support, consisting of conventional ballast aggregate coated with an advanced binder and end-of-life tyre dust. This new material has advanced properties: it has a longer service life and makes it possible to reduce the thickness of the platform, in addition to providing a better performance in terms of insulation against noise and vibration.

The new ballast allows for greater energy dissipation and load distribution which, in turn, can lead to a reduction in ballast layer thickness and less need for maintenance. According to the research data, it can result in a saving of 40% of the total cost of the track, including construction and maintenance.

As part of the activities performed to highlight the advantages of Neoballast in real conditions, a pilot test was carried out on a railway line open to traffic. Specifically, the test was conducted in June 2019 on a conventional Adif mixed passenger and freight traffic track between Sils and Maçanet de la Selva, in Girona. To this end, two sections have been built, one with Neoballast, and another, contiguous to it, with normal ballast. On both sections, sensors have been installed to monitor the track position, its deflection and the reduction of noise and vibrations. As of September, there will be preliminary results from this comparative analysis.

Neoballast is a European project co-financed by the European Commission under the H2020 programme “Fast Track to Innovation”. The consortium, led by COMSA, is made up of Mapei, D2S International, Sorigué and Talleres Felipe Verdés. It started in June 2016 and is scheduled for completion in November 2019.