Title: Modern methods of railway track safety inspection

Authors: Ta-Lun Yang; Wael A. Altabey

Addresses: ENSCO Inc., 3110 Fairview Park Drive, Suite 300, Falls Church, Virginia, USA ' Southeast University, International Institute for Urban Systems Engineering, Nanjing (210096), China; Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Alexandria University, Alexandria (21544), Egypt

Abstract: Railway and transit tracks are designed and constructed as smooth segments of straight lines and circular curves linked by transitional spirals. Dynamic traffic loads, material wear and environmental cycles gradually produce deviations in the track from the original smooth geometry. Such deviations lead to rough ride in the vehicles and furthermore higher dynamic vehicle-track interaction forces which lead to faster deviation growth. To monitor the geometric condition of the track and to guide maintenance and repair, hand tools were used to take consecutive measurements by track walkers. Modern state-of-the-art technology has since replaced the traditional slow and painful measurement practice. Inspections are now done from a moving vehicle at hundreds of km per hour without contacting the track. All track geometry parameters are measured up four times per meter; data are analysed in real time by onboard software to identify the location and magnitudes of deviations which exceeds the acceptable tolerance. Historical measurements are stored in databases which are used to establish degradation trends and to guide the planning of maintenance. With the help of high-speed imaging technology, automated video inspection systems are installed on some vehicles to detect other faults in the track structure. Four types of such modern inspection tools are introduced in the paper presentation. These are: a single-car comprehensive inspection vehicle; a dedicated inspection train; a highway-railway dual usage truck and an unmanned inspection system. Actual operational systems are used as examples to illustrate the design and capabilities of each of these types of inspection tools.

Keywords: railway and transit tracks; vehicles; track structure; dynamic traffic loads; inspections; imaging technology; video inspection systems.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMSS.2018.097834

International Journal of Sustainable Materials and Structural Systems, 2018 Vol.3 No.2, pp.99 - 122

Available online: 12 Feb 2019 *

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