Cyclical maintenance in Ireland

Iarnród Éireann or also called Irish Rail connects with the 2733km long network all important conurbations and cities on the "Green Island" Ireland. More than 40 million passengers were transported on the largely single-track mixed traffic network in 2016, with the trend in passenger numbers clearly pointing upwards.

Costumer problems:

When the rail replacement rate increased unusually sharply in 2012 and rails with an anticipated remaining service life of 20 years had to be replaced prematurely due to RCF defects, Irish Rail decided to carry out a complete system audit (profile measurements, eddy current and ultrasonic measurements) to check the condition of the network in its entirety. This analysis resulted in the need for immediate action, as the main problems were tread wear, RCF damage, and skid marks, with most defects being 5mm or less deep. Due to the severity of the damage, the island location and the gauge of 1600mm, which is atypical for Europe, Irish Rail decided after an intensive analysis in favor of the rail milling technology.

Area of responsibility:

The company LINMAG is working on the Irish network within the framework of a multi-year contract with two different approaches: The areas with severe damage are treated regeneratively, thus avoiding premature rail replacement. At the same time, the more easily damaged areas are treated with a cyclical preventive approach in order to extend the service life of the rails accordingly. If the focus in the first few years of the campaign was on the regenerative side, then in the later years the focus will shift to cyclical preventive activities.


After the first 3 years, Irish Rail was able to determine a significant decrease in early rail swaps, but the number of broken rails has also decreased significantly. In addition, the ride comfort for the passengers has also increased significantly. It is to be expected that this comprehensive maintenance strategy at Irish Rail will lead to a reduction in costs and a clearly measurable increase in the service life of the rails in the years to come.