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Date: 02/06/23 20:56
European Track Inspection Practices
Author: NDHolmes

There was a discussion on the Western board about US track standards and inspection frequency, and that got me to thinking about how it's done on the other side of the pond.  I've never seen a hyrail truck or the equivalent in either the UK or the EU, but with the daytime train density it probably isn't feasible to just get track and time for inspections like we do in the US or CA.

How do the various countries' infrastructure companies handle this, and with what kind of equipment and frequency?

 



Date: 02/06/23 23:34
Re: European Track Inspection Practices
Author: SOO6617

NDHolmes Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> There was a discussion on the Western board about
> US track standards and inspection frequency, and
> that got me to thinking about how it's done on the
> other side of the pond.  I've never seen a hyrail
> truck or the equivalent in either the UK or the
> EU, but with the daytime train density it probably
> isn't feasible to just get track and time for
> inspections like we do in the US or CA.
>
> How do the various countries' infrastructure
> companies handle this, and with what kind of
> equipment and frequency?

The British track inspection train https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/looking-after-the-railway/our-fleet-machines-and-vehicles/new-measurement-train-nmt/

Swiss Federal Railway track inspection  https://www.forbes.com/sites/nvidia/2018/08/02/how-swiss-federal-railway-is-improving-passenger-safety-with-the-power-of-deep-learning/?sh=397a493150e3



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/23 09:35 by SOO6617.



Date: 02/07/23 13:19
Re: European Track Inspection Practices
Author: GeoffM

Network Rail (UK) has document NR/L2/TRK/001, an old copy of which can be found at this website (click on View Document under the picture to download the PDF). The inspection schedule varies by track speed and tonnage mainly. A 70mph heavy freight line could be a twice weekly basic visual inspection if jointed track; every 2 weeks if CWR on concrete sleepers - but there are lots of tables to enjoy.

Track inspection can be done during the day but if it's a bi-directional/reversible line then one direction would be locked out for safety. Bridges and tunnels may require different safety procedures though.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/23 16:57 by GeoffM.



Date: 02/11/23 13:26
Re: European Track Inspection Practices
Author: Hartington

Network Rail (UK) have a range of different trains to monitor track and other "assets". As well as the HST based NMT they have another train based on a two car local service diesel multiple unit. They have some suprisingly old carriages set up for specialist jobs; they get hauled around the network separated from a generator carriage with a "normal" carriage to keep the vibration and noise of the generator from the equipment. Such trains are usually hauled with first generation diesel locomotives. . There are ultrasonic test cars that look for track defects, cars that monitor the railway telecomms network. I haven't heard about it recently but they used to have a carriage fitted with lasers that measured the distance between things like station platforms, bridges, fencing and the like and the train. I haven't heard about that one recently but, for a while, there were locomotives running around with an RILA device on the buffer beam whch i believe did a similar job. In some cases regular passenger trains are being fitted with increasingly sophisticated monitoring equipment so that I wouldn't be totally suprised to see fewer specialist trains around as the years pass by.

The NMT runs on a regular schedule. Where I live it appears every 28 days (not once a month) on a Friday. However, the 2 car DMU based device only comes around once a year when it visits the Mendip Hills quarry branches. I believe there is a requirement that every piece of track has to be monitored/tested at least once a year; there was a bit of a fuss locally several years ago when a branch had a 40mph limit applied (causing quite significant delays) because a particular track train hadn't visited in the previous year.

The monitoring pays off. My local station has a quite small point (no more than anout 10 yards of track) that slowly deteriorates. When it gets bad you can see the connection between carriages dip (pointed out to me by a staff member)but they leave it until the NMT reckons it's getting too bad then a tamper turns out and repacks the 10 yards (and a bit) either side.

There was a bad crash at Hatfield in 2000 and the NMT appeared in 2003. I suspect the two are connected because the crash bought to light a lot of failings in Railtrack (as it then was) and how they monitored (or didn't) track cpndition.



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