railway track construction, UPR, ecoinvent 3.6, Undefined

ISIC4 categories:
F:Construction/42:Civil engineering/421:Construction of roads and railways/4210:Construction of roads and railways
CH - Switzerland
Reference year: 1990 - 2000

Location: CH - Switzerland
The dataset represents the construction of a railway track in Switzerland. Environmental interventions and inputs from the technosphere are referred to 1-meter and year [ma] rail track. The dataset represents as well the maintenance and land use of a railway track in Switzerland. Environmental interventions and inputs from the technosphere are referred to 1-meter and year [ma] rail track. Railway track disposal is included as well.
Undefined unit processes (UPRs) are the unlinked, multi-product activity datasets that form the basis for all of the system models available in the ecoinvent database. This is the way the datasets are obtained and entered into the database by the data providers. These activity datasets are useful for investigating the environmental impacts of a specific activity (gate-to-gate), without regard to its upstream or downstream impacts.


The Swiss rail network includes normal gauge and narrow gauge tracks. It comprises approximately 10200 km rail tracks (SBB, 2002). In addition, 1400 km siding are reported. More than 98% of the goods transport in Switzerland is performed by the SBB. Thus, in line with the inventories for operation and manufacturing, for the calculation of the interventions of rail infrastructure is merely taken the SBB network into account. The SBB rail network predominately comprises one-way tracks and two-way tracks with a length of 1391 km and 1609 km (in the year 2000). One-way tracks are converted in two-way tracks, resulting in approximately 2300 km two way tracks. The material expenditures, if not stated differently, refer to a two-way track. Allocation between passenger and goods transportation is unavoidable. For the Swiss rail network in the year 2000 is applied a total Gtkm-performance of 5.94E+10 Gtkm resulting in a specific rail demand per Gtkm of 3.87E-05 (m*a)/Gtkm. Assuming a ratio gross tonne/carried goods of 2.26Gtkm/tkm is obtained a specific rail demand per functional unit of 8.7E-05 (m*a)/tkm. Is assumed a life span for the infrastructure of 100 years. Thus, all expenditures are aggregated for a life span of 100 years and referred to one year. It should be noted that the modelled energy consumption and material expenditures represent the conditions of the reference year 2000, even though some of these processes have been taken place in the past. Further components of rail track infrastructure, such as signalling infrastructure, train overtaking stations, sound insulation walls and buildings (stations, service garages) are not included in this study. In a recent research von Rozycki et al. (2003), pointed out that these components do not contribute significantly to a life cycle resource consumption of a rail transport system. Timber railroad sleepers are not modelled in this study, since they are continuously replaced with concrete railroad sleepers. For the data of the maintenance and land use, the renewal of materials is already addressed in the construction module Important components not addressed in the construction module are points or switches. Points are required to change tracks. For the SBB-network about 18000 points are in operation. For main lines, on average a point is installed every 830 metres, on the remaining lines the average point density is 270 metres Oggier (2002). In von Rozycki et al. (2003) a heating energy consumption to avoid icing in winter of 400 kWhel/(unit *a) has been stated. For main lines and remaining lines this result in energy consumption of 0.5 kWh/(m*a) and 1.5 kWh/(m*a), respectively. If is further assumed that goods transportation predominately takes place on main lines, and used the allocation factor “gross tonne kilometer”, is obtained an average point electricity consumption of 0.2 kWh/(m*a) or 4.21E-05 kWh/tkm. In addition, points need to be lubricated regularly. In the year 2000 the 69697 litre of lubricates have been consumed for point maintenance. The majority of the employed lubricates are biodegradable (SBB, 2002). The use of herbicides in 2000 has been reported with 4.474 t SBB (2002). The concentration of the active agent is 360g Glyphosat/l. In spite of the fact that Glyphosat is considered as biodegradable Haas (2000) emissions to soil are accounted for in this project. In this project are distinguished between land transformation and land occupation. Whilst transformation directly changes the ecological quality of land, occupation postpones changes of the ecological quality. Furthermore, are distinguished between the area actually used for rail tracks and embankments. Occupation refers to the time period for which the land is unavailable for other activities. The occupation intervention is expressed in terms of land use type, area and time. The unit is therefore square metres *year and the reference1-metre rail track. For transformation (the change of land use to be allocated to a certain user or user type) the situation is more difficult, mainly due to data variability. The yearly change in land use for a certain user may change considerably, as land use change is not a continuous process, but very much determined by political decisions and economic constraints and opportunities. Thus, to assess transformation, the yearly trend has been determined based on a fairly long period of 30 years, from 1971 to 2000.


SBB (2002) Umweltbericht 2000/2001. SBB, Bahnumweltzentrum, Bern, Online-Version under: www.sbb.ch/umwelt.
von Rozycki C., Koeser H. and Schwarz H. (2003) Ecology Profile of the German High-speed Rail Passenger Transport System, ICE. In: International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 8(2), pp. 83-91.
Oggier (2002) Entsorgung von Gleisaushub. pdf from http://www.sbb.ch/gs/pdf/umwelt_gleisaushub.pdf.

Process type
Supported nomenclature
ecoinvent 3.6
LCI modeling approach
Before modeling
Multifunctional modeling
Aggregation type
Data provider
Review status
For sale

ecoinvent EULA