Mainline Passenger Networks
Mainline passenger networks have certain characteristics that set them apart from other networks, e.g. high train speed, moderate loads, mostly tangent track, etc. The variation in the appearance of trackside components is pronounced for mainline railways due to their variety and variability and due to the way outdoor weather conditions can substantially affect their appearance. This presents a challenge for image analytics that must cater to a large variety of image data. Ballasted track also means that the condition of sleepers and track geometry inspections become important parameters. The diagnostics needs of mainline tracks focus on ensuring traffic punctuality and safety. Given the long distances involved on main lines for manual track walks, the volume of human labour involved for inspecting them regularly is extremely high and monitoring automation is very important. Mainline railways are increasingly under pressure to perform significant track maintenance in short period of time, e.g. 4 hours per day, and time is better spent on maintenance as opposed to finding faults. Past automations with maintenance cars are also struggling as less time is available for running these vehicles as these reduce track capacity. As a result of this mainline passenger networks are increasing looking forward to diagnostic solutions that can be mounted on passenger trains for key lines, leaving branch line inspections to maintenance vehicles where network has more capacity to offer.
Our TrackVue series Z and S products are designed for installation on both passenger and freight trains. These can be installed on locomotives or railcars. In some cases the system may be installed on existing inspection trains that are timetabled to inspect a certain portion of the track. In another case, a number of locomotives may be equipped that amongst themselves cover the entire network on an annual basis without being assigned specifically for track inspection tasks. The second option removes the need to operate inspection trains altogether.
TrackVue software analytics is modularised and optimised for both passenger rail networks and may be interfaced with existing data transmission systems. For passenger networks, with higher train speeds, the focus is on improving track inspection quality to find critical defects that may derail the train at high speeds (e.g. rail and weld breaks, head checks, missing components in switch areas). If the track is regularly found to be of high quality, speed restrictions can be lifted, trains can be run at higher speeds and network capacity increased. The excessive wear and tear of components caused by heavy load (e.g. rail, sleepers, fastenings), abnormal rail-wheel interaction and track geometry issues are also important.
Our solutions can generate objective diagnostic data for the mathematical modelling of how track capacity can be increased through directed maintenance and where speed limits need to be imposed for safe operations. The distribution of asset and defect related information through the cloud network helps local divisional managers responsible for local track maintenance issues. TrackVue also provides detailed tools for localised information to be tracked over time to provide valuable input into predictive maintenance.
The main advantage of using Rail Vision products for mainline railways includes:
- We have extensive experience of working on Mainline passenger networks in UK, USA, Sweden, Germany and Portugal. We bring a wealth of experience from these operations having installed diagnostic systems on both passenger trains and maintenance vehicles.
- We have solutions for use on both maintenance vehicles and passenger trains. The solutions for passenger trains do not use any in-cabin space for our equipment.
- All of our systems can be operated remotely and are therefore invisible to the train driver and passengers
- Our systems work at speeds of up to 160 kmph, typical of such networks providing high quality image resolution compared to any other vendor (< 0.5mm/pixel) and with 20 cm sampling distance for rail wear and geometry measurements
- We understand the needs of mainline maintenance operations and are therefore able to provide a range of data post-processing tools and services for predictive maintenance.
- We offer cloud based data management services to reduce IT burden on customer organisation