US: BART Unveils New Rail Inspection Vehicle

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has unveiled a new rail inspection vehicle (RIV) manufactured by MERMEC under the Build America Buy America Act requirements.

The RIV will be used to accurately identify potential issues along the track without obstructing regular operations.

This will enhance the rider experience by enabling BART to provide a more reliable service, while also cutting costs.

BART Rail Inspection Vehicle
The RIV measures 63 feet by 9.5 feet and weighs 110,000 pounds

The new vehicle’s advanced track inspection capabilities will facilitate more efficient maintenance procedures, leading to fewer system interruptions during service hours.

It uses high-tech lasers, sensors, cameras, measuring systems and data management systems to create a comprehensive profile of the track while travelling at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour.

This will provide data on the track’s position, curvature, smoothness and alignment, as well as any wear and corrugation, which contribute to train noise.

BART Rail Inspection Vehicle
The new vehicle will serve as an important asset to BART for the next forty to fifty years

In addition, the RIV can create 3D surface scans of the area around the track and capture high-definition images that detect abnormalities in components such as concrete ties and fasteners.

Furthermore, it can also identify potential issues by capturing video and infrared thermal imagery in both normal and low-light conditions, including in tunnels. GPS, axle counters, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags are then used to pinpoint the locations of problem areas.

This is one of only two such vehicles currently used in the US. A video of the new tool in action can be viewed here.

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