Track Geometry Monitoring in Poland

Why national railway infrastructure operator PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. chose a wireless monitoring system to ensure railway safety.

Polish railway infrastructure manager PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A  commissioned Senceive distributor TPI to monitor railway tracks in an area of concern.

Key Points

  • Senceive distributor TPI installed a total of 50 wireless sensors within three hours on railway sleepers to monitor track cant, twist and longitudinal profile
  • Track outages were not possible. Installation was competed during short access windows in between busy commuter trains
  • Polish railway infrastructure manager PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. now receives track geometry data every 30 minutes without needing to go to site

Optical survey methods would have required frequent site visits, so monitoring experts TPI selected Senceive’s wireless monitoring for advantages including quick installation and continuous data reporting capabilities that would alert the project team to the slightest changes in trackbed geometry.

Track outages were not possible, and only short access windows were available in between trains. More than 50 triaxial tilt meter sensors were installed in under three hours, using only trackbed mounting plates and high-quality adhesive.

No bulky equipment or external power systems were required.  After the discreet monitoring system including the triaxial tilt sensors and communications gateway was installed, data was immediately available on WebMonitor™ cloud-based data visualisation software.

Senceive’s inclinometer sensors have been specially designed for challenging applications such as railway monitoring. The long-lasting battery allows uninterrupted operation for more than 10 years, ensuring continuity of measurements, and the robust sensors will continue to transmit data even in harsh environmental conditions.

The system was configured to send data at a 30-minute frequency, but has the ability to sample at sub-minute rates if required.  Automated alert warnings were set up to be triggered if monitored movement of cant, twist and longitudinal profiles exceeded pre-selected threshold values. Reporting frequencies can be changed remotely from WebMonitor™, if required. The system user has full control over the parameterization and adjustment of the data presentation method, according to individual needs.

In addition to the triaxial tilt sensors on the railway sleepers, Optical Displacement Sensors were also installed to monitor potential track displacements in the horizontal plane. These sensors monitor changes in track centre position relative to fixed reference points, such as overhead line support structures. This makes it possible to detect concerning lateral movements of the track early and for supervisory staff to act accordingly.

The wireless monitoring system has given PKP confidence that they will be immediately alerted of any concerning movements.  With long-life batteries and very low power consumption, this type of system can be re-used on further projects.

This article was originally published by Senceive.

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