Railway maintenance: the new frontier of wireless monitoring

Railway maintenance: the new frontier of wireless monitoring


Railways are in need of constant maintenance in order to ensure the safety of both passengers and railway workers. On top of this, the downtime of railway lines costs railway companies severely in economic terms, not only in the form of remedial action but also due to customer dissatisfaction and compensation. At the moment, railway monitoring for predictive maintenance is pretty basic: for most railway networks, a special train with sensors on its wheels runs through the whole rail network once within a fixed period of time, usually 6-12 months. This train measures several key parameters across the entire railway system. In particular, it tracks changes in the height difference and width between the two lines because if these distances change, the risk of train derailment can be massively increased. The ‘monitoring train’ thus identifies where any corrections in the lines may be needed. However, this measurement is only taken sporadically; in the remaining months, nobody knows what is happening.

Railway operators thus need a new way of monitoring that will allow them to constantly know how tracks are faring. Wireless monitoring is one solution that can give operators access to real-time data on the tracks that they oversee.

We will examine some of the benefits of real-time wireless monitoring systems for the railway industry:

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