Railway Technology: UST Inc. presents a transportation solution for regions with challenging natural conditions

The British media portal Railway Technology has published an article describing the effective solutions of UST Inc. for complex terrain. As the article emphasizes, it is not easy to provide regular transport links in such territories. The engineering company Unitsky String Technologies Inc. offers a solution in the form of uST Transport and Infrastructure Complexes. Their potential is most fully revealed in hard-to-reach areas with difficult natural conditions. Check the original text below for more information.

About the technology

uST's transport and infrastructure solutions are based on the technology of creating pre-stressed transport overpasses of a new generation. Its key element is the string rail. Such a rail is a steel or composite beam containing in its core a bundle of wires (strings) pre-stressed by stretching and fitted with a rail head, along which passenger and cargo electric vehicles on steel wheels (uPods) move automatically at speeds up to 150 km/h (in the future — up to 500 km/h). The string-rail overpass allows passenger and freight transport to service up to 50,000 passengers per hour or up to 100 million tons of cargo per year high above the ground.

Advantages of uST in regions with harsh natural conditions

The construction of a light and at the same time strong string-rail overpass in areas with mountains, swamps, jungles, deserts or permafrost is significantly less-costly than the construction of any alternatives available on the market. The uST track structure does not require the creation of earth roadbeds, culverts and other facilities. To overcome water barriers and other obstacles, it is not necessary to build bridges: the distance between the supports can reach 2,000-5,000 meters.

Due to pre-tensioning of strings, the uST transport overpass is resistant to frost (up to − 60 °C), heat (up to + 60 °C), snow drifts, river floods, earthquakes, stormy winds, tsunamis and other extreme impacts, including vandalism and terrorist acts, if such impacts are designed in the project as possible with the probability of "1 time in 100 years".

The string-rail overpass is distinguished by a long service life — 50 years before the general overhaul. The service life of the rolling stock is 25 years. The uPods are equipped with an anti-derailment system that prevents their rollover and falling. Due to the automated control system, the human factor is excluded. It also includes a full control of speed and route, uninterrupted round-the-clock operation, safety of cargo and passenger transportation even under harsh weather conditions. The self-cleaning system of uPods allows the steel wheels of the rolling stock to clean snow and icing from the rails on their own. Vehicles can be heated in winter and cooled in summer at minimal heating and cooling costs.

The string-rail track, pointwise-mounted on lightweight supports, keeps the land untouched, does not disrupt the steady-state temperature regimes of permafrost, does not interfere with the migration of animals and the movement of ground and surface waters. At the same time, a high level of safety is ensured by elevating the rolling stock to the second level, where there is no chance of collision with moving objects located on the land surface.

uST application

Connection with hard-to-reach regions

uST transport and infrastructure complexes can be used to establish regular communication with cities located in hard-to-reach and remote regions. The string route can also serve as a high-speed transfer from such settlements to airports, railway stations and seaports.

Transit to resource extraction sites

uST complexes can be used for the delivery of workers and their equipment to the places of exploration of mineral deposits. In addition, freight rail electric vehicles can transport the extracted resources. The high speed of movement and the specifics of the track structure of the "second level" will ensure a fast and safe transportation of passengers and cargo in automatic mode.

Unification of divided parts of a city

The string-rail overpass is capable of connecting parts of a city separated by a water barrier, a mountain section or a ravine. uST transport and infrastructure complexes allow to lay a route along an optimal trajectory thanks to a unique engineering solution. 

7 October 2022