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Revolutionizing Rail Safety: Finland's New Pilot Project for Real-Time Track Monitoring

Revolutionizing Rail Safety: Finland's New Pilot Project for Real-Time Track Monitoring
photo: VR FleetCare/Revolutionizing Rail Safety: Finland's New Pilot Project for Real-Time Track Monitoring
03 / 11 / 2023

In a comprehensive track infrastructure condition monitoring pilot project, commercial trains will be utilised to collect data from various rail sections on a daily basis. The pilot project will focus on monitoring the condition of elements such as isolation joints and switches and detecting rail defects and fractures. Also, changes in the stiffness of the supporting structures and locations causing instability of the ride will be detected.

The project aims to explore the benefits of continuous rail infrastructure condition monitoring for enabling faster and cost-effective responses to network defects and for making it possible to determine the optimal moment to apply proactive maintenance. The pilot consists of an already completed three-month preparatory phase and a one-year measurement and monitoring period. VR FleetCare, in collaboration with EKE-Electronics, is providing this service to the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency (FTIA).

Measurement equipment has been installed in a Sr2 locomotive operated by VR, which operates according to normal fleet control. Measurement data is collected daily from an average distance of 800 kilometers, amounting to approximately 260,000 kilometers of different rail sections over the entire measurement period. The data from the measurement equipment will be analyzed using the SmartVision™ platform by EKE-Electronics. The same equipment also provides real-time monitoring of the locomotive’s bogies and drive motors.

”Condition monitoring has long been employed in proactive maintenance across various industries and through various methods. In the maintenance of rail networks, we must increasingly shift towards predicting faults and taking planned actions based on actual conditions. This ensures precise and safe train operations in a cost-effective manner. Through this trial, we aim to test a new approach to monitoring the condition of different rail components and work towards more systematic, condition-based maintenance,” explains Marko Lehtosaari, an expert in rail maintenance at FTIA.

During the pilot project, FTIA will have access to real-time condition data of its network via the user interface of SmartVision™ Track Condition Monitoring, as well as further analysis services provided by experts of VR FleetCare and EKE-Electronics.

”We have been developing this solution together with EKE for several years, so it is exciting to collaborate with FTIA to validate the benefits of this new measurement method in maintaining the rail network. Undisturbed and efficient traffic is naturally our goal as a rolling stock maintainer. With that in mind, we are advancing our digital condition monitoring solutions,” states Sami Kalevirta, Head of Digital Solutions at VR FleetCare.

Source: VR FleetCare