Variances in moisture levels around railway tracks can compromise bearing capacity and the stability of surrounding soil, ultimately resulting in track geometry degradation. The only materials currently used to install a sufficient draining system are reinforced concrete, fibre reinforced concrete or steel, which are highly susceptible to rust and corrosion. One German manufacturer – FRÄNKISCHE – is changing the way the industry thinks about track drainage with an innovative new pipe design.

A railway track’s geometry is highly influenced by the initial state of the soil, hydraulic conditions and atmospheric conditions such as temperature and moisture. Changes in these conditions, usually due to excess moisture, plays a significant role in the weakening of track geometry and can induce softening and weakening of the load bearing capacity.

Appropriate drainage methods are required to intercept water flow and direct it away from the track ballast. FRÄNKISCHE has designed a high-quality polypropylene pipe with optimised profile geometry to offer an extremely hard-wearing pipe for track drainage.

FRÄNKISCHE’s RailPipe complies with the extremely demanding requirements of Deutsche Bahn AG in terms of impact strength and flexural fatigue strength which has made it the first twin-wall pipe to meet all the standards and requirements of Deutsche Bahn AG and the German Federal Railway Authority (Eisenbahn-Bundesamt, EBA). RailPipe can therefore be used as a single pipe solution for all pressure ranges of the roadbed and track.

Changing the game

Concrete and steel drainage systems can corrode and rust over time through excessive exposure to water and runoff. This means continuous maintenance and inspection is required to prolong the pipe’s life and durability.

The game changing RailPipe design offers a number of benefits over its concrete and steel counterparts, including being drastically lighter weight for easy installation, eliminating rust and corrosion which cuts ongoing maintenance costs and having a longer lifespan than traditional materials.

The controlled drainage of railway tracks is also required for safety reasons. Accumulating infiltration water must be removed from waterbodies and soils in compliance with protection requirements. RailPipe has a high infiltration rate thanks to perfectly arranged perforations and high permeability.

RailPipes round shape and smooth inside create a cross-section that is beneficial in terms of hydraulics and maintenance. It is delivered in straight lengths of six meters including coupling and sealing rings which can then be cut to length as desired and remaining pieces can be reused using couplings.

Stephen Herd, Australasian Regional Business Manager Drainage Systems, said the development of the RailPipe system was a five-year long process.

“We’ve designed RailPipe as a single pipe solution for all applications. Not only can it be used outside of and in the external pressure range of the roadbed and track but also in the inside pressure range.

“RailPipe has passed rigorous quality control by the external centre of MFPA Leipzig in terms of safety and stability. The thorough testing included Dynamic fatigue tests determining the fatigue strength in 108 load cycles. The results proved the durability of the design as it was still able to hold its integrity.”

RailPipe can also be coupled with an additional RailControl; a flushing and inspection shaft of modular design comprising shaft bottom, extension pipe and adapter. The addition was specifically developed to allow for easy inspection and flushing of the connected pipe systems.

RailControl satisfies the highest requirements in terms of safety and stability while being resistant to acids, bases, oils and greases, and is UV-resistant and temperature resistant from – 40 to + 80°C.

Industry leaders in design

FRÄNKISCHE is an innovative, growth-oriented industry leader in the design, manufacturing and marketing of technically superior corrugated pipe systems for drainage, electrical, building technology and industrial applications.

With the combination of RailPipe and RailControl, FRÄNKISCHE has developed the perfect system for the requirements of track drainage. Both components have been ideally matched to form a homogeneous system that provides the highest functional reliability for planning engineers, users and builders.

This partner content is brought to you by Frankische. For more information, visit

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1 Comment
  1. Phill Cuddihy 3 years ago

    Does this system have Network Rail product approval or do you intend to apply for NR product approval ?.

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