Alstom has conducted a project in Spain to digitalise track inspections for the Metro Ligero, the light rail network in Madrid.
Alstom carried out the project together with Metro Ligero Oeste (MLO), the network’s concession holder, as part of the services agreement in place between the two parties.
This digitalisation project involved inspecting the light rail tracks connecting the neighbourhoods in western Madrid with suburban train stations. Alstom used its TrackTracer monitoring tool to inspect the 21km line. It was fitted on to a special vehicle that measures the infrastructure automatically. This has been the first commercial project of its kind in Spain. Tests were previously carried out with TMB in 2019, as were research and development projects with the rail infrastructure manager Adif.
The special-purpose vehicle was equipped with four optical units, a camera, lasers and an inertial navigation system. It uses all of these devices to analyse a number of different track parameters such as rail width, levelling, track twist radius, alignment, banking and warping. Having these measurements is vital for safe rail operations because problems with the track can cause derailments. The data collected can then be fed into Alstom’s HealthHub platform, which makes the prediction of future problems easier, allowing preventive maintenance.
The conventional method up until now has been the manual inspection of the track, which is more time consuming, less reliable and less cost-effective. Alstom’s system can cope with up to 4,000 measurements per kilometre at an average speed of 20km/h and a resolution of up to 0.02mm for maximum accuracy.
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