Magnetic Track Brakes – why not used on British rails? (RSSB)

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Magnetic Track Brakes (MTBs) are used widely in mainland Europe and on GB tramways. The GB mainline is missing a trick and it’s time to do something about it.

​Magnetic Track Brakes are a form of brake that is mounted on the vehicle bogie frame between the wheels. When the MTB is lowered to contact the rail, a magnetic clamping force generates friction between the MTB and the rail which contributes to train deceleration. MTBs are considered to have a beneficial effect at low adhesion sites, since their deployment is believed to help remove leaf film from the railhead, which provides improved rail head conditions for following trains.

Used extensively in mainland Europe and on GB tramways, our research shows that MTBs are generally compatible with GB mainline rail infrastructure, provided they are used only when other brakes are not fully effective, and they are not used repeatedly in the same location. The work demonstrates the positive economic case for fitting MTBs to new rolling stock and asserts that the adoption of this braking technology will contribute to assured stopping capability, leading to a reduction in SPADs and station overruns together with improved performance and capacity.

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Written by Long Branch Mike