Holistic Approach to Track Condition Data Collection and Analysis

Janusz Madejski

Last modified: 2017-02-28


Track geometry measurements are made using the manual tools, microprocessor based portable instruments, and geometry cars. However, no measurement method or tool without data logging feature, is capable to collect all data that would be necessary for the detailed diagnostic reasoning in a line or railway network level, being useful only for direct measurement of some track parameter at a particular point. Microprocessor based track gauges, trolleys or self-propelled geometry cars, or else measurements and inspection equipment mounted on the regular trains, can record all aspects of track condition. Timely use of this data is the source of the cost efficient and rational maintenance decisions. Moreover, the earlier the necessary repair is done, the less expensive it will be. Therefore, expenditures on measurement equipment and data repository systems are the most effective investment – saving costs of possible accidents and costly repairs if they are made late. This is even more evident in the case of track network revitalization, as one has to decide where and what should be repaired first. Operating safety may be ensured only if the actual track condition is known. This requirement calls for easy access over internet on various platforms to measurement data – current and historical – and also to results of their analyses. These include, among others, also results of image analysis of streaming visual inspection. They can later be reported on plots and tabular reports so that maintenance service can efficiently locate specific locations needing maintenance. Some analyses require application of the artificial intelligence methods.


track condition; track diagnostics; track maintenance; video inspection; track geometry

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