HSL-Zuid (HSL-South) is a high speed line in the Netherlands from the capital Amsterdam to the Belgium border. The track built as the concrete slab structure (Rheda-2000NL) is different from the track used on the Dutch railway network, which is a ballast track.
On a weekend in the beginning of June 2018, the students of Railway Engineering SecRon (Faculty of Civil Engineering, TU Delft) had a unique opportunity to visit HSL-Zuid near the station Lage Zwaluwe. On this weekend the maintenance works on replacing a turnout took place. Due to the maintenance this part of the HSL was not in use and the students had a chance to walk on the track and to take a closer look on the elements of the track structure, of course taking all the necessary safety precautions.
Turnout replacement on a HSL is a time-consuming and not trivial operation. Especially, the transportation of the crossing from the wayside to the track passing the cautionary system require a high precision of the maintenance workers, even though the cautionary system was not powered.
The excursion was jointly organised by Aad Hertog (Infraspeed BV), who hosted and guided us on the HSL and Valeri Markine (Railway Engineering, TU Delft).