Lankhorst Rail wins Sleeper Development Project for Network Rail


Lankhorst Rail has been awarded a contract by Network Rail to assist in the development of the next generation of railway sleeper. The ability to mould the KLP® Hybrid Rail Sleeper will allow Network Rail to explore various sleeper designs for their bending stiffness, flexibility and temperature resistance against an overall requirement for a greener, reduced CO2 manufacture.


With growing concerns over CO2 emissions and rising global temperatures, Network Rail is exploring the benefits of composite sleepers manufactured from recycled plastics material as an alternative to concrete and wooden sleepers. The KLP® Hybrid Rail Sleepers will allow Network Rail to evaluate the different moulded profiles for their ability to cope with higher temperatures for extended periods. Recently the UK experienced its highest ever temperatures at 40.2 C, and during a heatwave in September recorded temperatures above 30 C for six continuous days, well above the average for the time of year.    


“We already offer a range of sleeper designs for specific applications that are optimised for bending stiffness and low thermal expansion. This will allow us to look at a broader range of alternative sleeper designs than is possible with other composite sleepers,” says Aran van Belkom, technical director, Lankhorst Engineered Products. “Moreover, from an installation perspective, the KLP® Hybrid Rail Sleeper allows the rail to be attached to the sleeper itself, since a baseplate is incorporated into the moulded sleeper geometry, enabling a quicker track installation.”


Flexible Sleeper Design

As standard, KLP® Hybrid Rail Sleepers are available in three variants: 100-series track sleepers’, the 200-series turnout bearers and the 400-series bridge transoms. All the sleepers are manufactured from a high quality, ductile polymer with steel bars encased. This hybrid construction provides both high strength and excellent damping characteristics, as well as bending stiffness and low thermal expansion.


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