At ÖBB it has become a well-proven standard to carry out long-term analyses of track geometry measuring data stored in a track geometry data base. The data is collected during measuring runs with the EM 250 electronic track recording car or during maintenance and construction works. Mathematical models allow making predictions for the planning of maintenance measures.
Prevention is key, as the infrastructure operators attending the convention stressed repeatedly. Particularly the experiences gained in recent years confirm that putting off maintenance takes its toll.
“If tamping works are not carried out, irregular track geometry, quickly deteriorating assets and their unexpected premature breakdown are the consequences. The ensuing failure to reach the end of an asset’s economic life results, unless sufficient quantities are available for renewal, in expensive pent-up demand which, by definition, tends to cause restrictions of availability and additional maintenance,” explained Dipl.-Ing. Ingolf Nerlich, Asset Management Track, SBB.
DB AG launches into the “digital revolution”. The company has set up a “MindBox”, a creative space that aims to provide the traditional rail industry with new impetus. First experiences show that innovative start-ups have a positive impact on the railway.
DI Dr. Matthias Landgraf, a Senior Scientist from Graz, presented the path from measuring data analysis to asset management. Using fractual analysis of the vertical track geometry, the different wavelength ranges of track faults are identified. Short-wave track faults indicate an emerging problem in the interaction between sleeper and ballast. Mid-wave track faults indicate progressing ballast fouling. Long-wave track faults lie in the track’s bearing capacity and describe the substructure condition.
DI Dr. Florian Auer showed how Plasser & Theurer uses the opportunities created by Digitisation 4.0: The PlasserSmartMaintenanceSuite stores measuring data, working parameters and further data collected by tamping machines to make it accessible for further analyses at any place and any time. For the first time, the new product PlasserSmartTamping – TheAssistant makes it possible to tamp turnouts fully automatically. The operator only has to confirm the suggestions of the assistance system.
Speakers from Great Britain, Korea and Canada also participated in the convention. Their presentations centred on asset management in the HS2 high-speed project, upgrading Korean high-speed lines, which is also important for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, and the Canadian Railway.
James McLeod, Canadian National Railway, showed the importance of emergency recovery measures after national disasters, such as rockfalls or the collapse of bridges. The top priority is to restore the railway infrastructure as quickly as possible to keep the economic damage to a minimum.