The Network Rail Technical Strategy 2013, NR’s framework for research and development, cites its participation in Track 21 as an example of best practice for research and development into infrastructure. The NR Technical Strategy says:
“Track 21 improves understanding of the complex mechanisms of railway track behaviour governing stiffness, robustness, longevity, noise and vibration performance to allow us to optimise the track system. These projects are undertaken in partnership with government, academic and industrial organisations to bring about improvements in capacity, infrastructure performance and sustainability by developing new design, construction, monitoring and maintenance techniques.”
A year earlier, the industry-wide Rail Technical Strategy 2012 cited Track 21 as an enabler of its vision for infrastructure. The Rail Technical Strategy says:
“Track 21 is a project to improve understanding of the complex mechanisms of railway track governing stiffness, robustness, longevity and noise and vibration performance. This could optimise track performance in terms of engineering, the environment and the economy.
“A specific example of the work covered in Track 21 is tampless track. Tamping causes damage to the ballast and surrounding infrastructure and having to tamp the track to restore ideal geometry can be costly and time-consuming. Ballast that requires little or no tamping will help to drive down costs.