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Disruption reduction technology to be tested on Finnish rail infrastructure

Posted: 29 January 2020 | | No comments yet

The technology being tested by the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency aims to enhance the monitoring of the condition of rail switches.

Disruption reduction technology to be tested on Finnish rail infrastructure

After switch failures caused over 5,000 disruptions to rail traffic in Finland during 2019, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency (FTIA) is working in partnership with VR FleetCare to enhance the monitoring of the condition of switches on Finland’s rail infrastructure.

Marko Lehtosaari, who is responsible for railway maintenance at the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, said: “More detailed data helps us to improve the availability of tracks and reduce switch-related disruptions to rail traffic. We aim to receive the first signals of maintenance needs before any deviations are detected in switch operations. In this respect, condition monitoring would help improve the punctuality of trains.”

The joint pilot project will be focused on collecting and analysing data to obtain real-time information about the condition of switches, with seven measurement points installed at interlockings located at major traffic points around the railway network. The measurement points will be used to test the operation of approximately 80 switches and, based on the measurement data, incipient switch failures can be detected from deviating turntable performance. 

Due to having a complex structure and involving multiple components that affect their functioning, a significant share of railway network maintenance costs is accounted for by switch maintenance. The measurement data gained from the test will be used to steer maintenance based on the condition of switches, reducing maintenance costs and increasing the life-cycle of switches, subsequently reducing the likelihood of delays.

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