Thursday 23 September 2021

UIC publishes first edition of IRS 70727, “Railway Application – Track superstructure decision-making”

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UIC develops and publishes IRSs to help railway stakeholders to achieve greater harmonisation and efficiency in daily railway operations.

The first edition of IRS 70727, developed as part of the Track Expert Group’s DESMAN project, was published in July 2021 and is available from the UIC ETF Shop:

This IRS relates to the decision-making process for selecting the most suitable track type from various potential solutions (ballasted track or slab-track) for a particular new line, taking a variety of factors into account and based on an analysis of the extensive bibliography and previous projects and studies on the topic.

In the first part of the document, the current status of the decision-making process is outlined in order to provide context for the justification of the parameters and processes selected. In the second part, the methodological approach, an analysis of key effects and technical parameters to be considered and the decision-making process stages to be scheduled are developed, with the final part providing a suitability analysis and selection process guide.

In this context, the document also provides an overview of the current status in relation to ballasted tracks and slab track (ballastless) with the aim of documenting the latest track innovations, which have a major influence on maintenance and track performance.

In addition, this IRS sets out to provide an example of the application of the guidelines for selecting various track solutions for a defined section of a new railway line.

In summary, this new IRS aims to:

  • establish a guideline to help infrastructure managers make the choice between ballasted track and slab-track (ballastless)
  • provide key elements for decision-making, taking a variety of factors into account

UIC is truly grateful for the consensus achieved in producing this IRS and the DESMAN working group’s valuable encouragement and commitment to contributing to sharing and harmonisation of good practices, helping to ensure that IRSs are as universal as possible.

A special mention must also go to all of the UIC staff involved in producing this new IRS over the past few years.

For further information, please contact Mercedes Gutiérrez, Infrastructure and TTI Senior Advisor, at

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