London Underground are part of Transport for London (TFL), the government body responsible for the capital’s transportation network. RS Clare have a long standing relationship with London Underground as a trusted supplier for over 25 years and over this time we have developed a strong partnership, focused on innovation and continuous improvement.
London Underground have a strong focus on safety and within an underground network environment there are additional safety measures to take into consideration. In the event of a fire the fume toxicity from rail lubricants could present a health and safety hazard to passengers and personnel within the tunnels and/or underground metros, and this is a risk that London Underground were keen to minimise as far as possible.
In addition to reducing the grease’s fume toxicity, we also discussed other performance optimisations we could include within this development project which includes biodegradability, and a broader operating temperature range for wider all-seasons performance.
Given the essential need for a less hazardous grease in the event of a fire communicated to our R&D team by London Underground, our development chemists focused on formulating an innovative lubrication solution that would not only satisfy their requirement for low fume toxicity and a higher flash point to achieve greater fire and smoke resistance, but also meet the challenges of their track environment.
The newly developed Metro Bio Grease was a tailor made curved rail grease solution for London Underground’s metro network that delivered on their enhanced safety requirements, but was also a readily biodegradable, high performance gauge face lubricant capable of consistent all-seasons performance with an operating temperature range of -15°C to 120°C. Carry down capabilities were also improved and wear protection properties enhanced.
Metro Bio Grease was trialled on the Bakerloo line in the sub-surface running and check lubricators, and also in the open running section of the District line, for a 12 month period to fully assess it’s seasonal temperature performance. Following a successful trial, Metro Bio Grease was fully approved by London Underground and standardised as the trackside grease for the TFL London Underground’s vast network. Lubrication engineers across the network have since reported grease carry down performance has significantly improved, noting no issues with ballast and rail head contamination have been reported.
Once again our R&D team were able to deliver an innovative solution that exceeded our customer’s expectations and embodied our continuous improvement mindset.