Tuesday 30 April 2024

UIC publishes IRS 70701 “Polymeric composite sleepers – Recommendations for use”

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Published in April 2024, the first edition of IRS 70701 “Polymeric composite sleepers – Recommendations for use” is intended to complement the existing standards in this area, in particular the ISO 12856 standard series.

This IRS deals with the use of polymeric composite sleepers and bearers in ballasted tracks and polymeric composite transoms for ballastless tracks. The main existing products are described, and the main published standards are listed and examined. The IRS will replace UIC Leaflet 901, while also providing an example of how to use polymeric materials.

It summarises:

  • Recommendations for the use of polymeric composite sleepers as an alternative to hardwood sleepers
  • Requirements for the qualification process and quality control procedures
  • Technical and economic findings based on current knowledge, regarding polymeric composite sleepers, bearers, and transoms

It has been developed within the scope of the Ad-hoc Working Group for Issuing new IRSs about Composite Plastic Sleepers, which was directed by the TEG (Track Expert Group), Composite Sleepers Group. A special mention must also go to all the experts and UIC staff involved in producing this new IRS over the past years, in particular to Rodolphe Potvin from SNCF, Stefano Rossi from RFI and Philipp Tecklenburg & Christian Suhren from DB.

The IRS can be found at https://shop.uic.org/en/505-rolling-stock/14725-polymeric-composite-sleepers-recommendations-for-use.html.

For further information, please contact Marcos Conceição at conceicao@uic.org

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Figure 1: Example of polymeric composite sleepers in stock (at warehouse).
Figure 2: Two different types of polymeric composite sleepers in stock.