Event report: Improving maximum payloads through better calculations

On 12 December 2023, Aaron Barrett, Lead Research Analyst, Rail Standards and Safety Board (RSSB), and Ralph Goldney, Railfreight Consulting, explained the science behind limits on train payload, and how these are being improved.

The maximum train payload for each class of locomotive on each section of track is contained in the Network Rail’s Freight Train Loads Book. The last major update dates from the introduction of Class 66 locomotives in the late 1990s, since then only minor improvements have been made based on specific case studies.

RSSB commissioned Railfreight Consulting to develop a more scientific and quantitative approach methodology for calculating maximum payloads, which can be used to calculate loading for more modern traction (eg Class 70, 88, 93 and 99) and for easier updates of the Loads Book in the future. The research has been extended to consider how the increased performance of modern locomotives can provide additional value (longer trains or faster running) within the existing timetabling constraints, as defined by Network Rail’s Sectional Running Times.

Ultimately, this research enables freight operators to use the full capabilities of their locomotives, increasing the efficiency, reliability, and sustainability of each freight journey.

Watch the webinar here.