Hitachi is to further develop on-train track monitoring equipment for Network Rail, with subsidiary Perpetuum working on “the first real-time digital solution” that will predict “sections of track that affect ride quality and require maintenance”.
It follows trials of Perpetuum’s ride-quality monitoring technology on the West Coast Main Line in 2019.
The next stage is the result of a £0.5m competition, with the trial now being expanded in Scotland - routes covered include the North Clyde Line, Borders Railway, and Fife Circle.
Working with NR, ScotRail and Porterbrook, Perpetuum has fitted sensors with gyroscopes and accelerometers to trains that are already in passenger service. The sensors are self-powered using energy-harvesting technology, so require no extra wiring or power sources.
Porterbrook Head of Digital Services Stephanie Klecha described the project as “a great example of how rolling stock data can improve and enhance the industry’s understanding of track behaviour in the run-up to rough-ride events. This will enable tailored proactive maintenance to solve this important industry challenge.”
Track monitoring has hitherto been undertaken by assets such as NR’s HST-based New Measurement Train, and traditionally through manual inspection. The current move is part of a plan to roll out new technology to improve track maintenance during the next five-year Control Period (CP7), which starts in 2024.
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