AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Smart cards to keep trains on track

<p>Australian rail researchers have developed a tiny information-sharing device that will help reduce the risk of train derailments.</p> <p>The Cooperative Research Centre for Railway Engineering and Technologies (Rail CRC) at Rockhampton believes the technology will save the industry millions through reduced train derailment and maintenance costs.</p> <p>The technology uses small, paperback-sized cards that are placed on multiple train wagons.</p> <p>The cards simultaneously communicate with an on-board monitor, passing information on any train and track faults detected.</p> <p>Rail CRC project leader Peter Wolfs said the on-monitor would warn drivers of unfavourable train responses and provide derailment risk estimates.</p> <p>"One of the key benefits of the health card will be to halt instances of partial derailment, a situation where one or a number of wagons on a very long freight train can be derailed and dragged, causing substantial damage to tracks, sleepers and wagons before it is noticed," Professor Wolfs said.</p> <p>Although the industry has had condition monitoring vehicles working at set intervals for some time, the new technology would allow each wagon to monitor the track and train all the time, he said.</p> <p>It will also allow a greater focus on condition-based maintenance of track and rollingstock rather than fixed timeframe maintenance, Rail CRC said.</p> <p>The technology will be on display at next week’s AusRAIL exhibition in Sydney from November 22-24 </p> <br />