The Educational Railroading Conference Leader Since 1994


2019 Rail Transit Session


Evaluation of Comprehensive Track Inspection Vehicles for Transit Operations

Bob Coakley

Bob Coakley
ENSCO Rail, Inc.

This presentation will discuss the current state-of-the-art of comprehensive track inspection vehicles utilized transit railways. Currently it is beneficial to have an automated inspection vehicle that has multiple infrastructure inspection technologies focused on track and power systems such as third rail and overhead wire. This presentation will discuss various measurement and imaging technologies, including the standard base systems of track geometry and rail profile, but also cutting edge machine visions systems such as linescan cameras with automated defect detection. One particular machine vision technology that has proven to be valuable to transits is thermal imaging. This presentation will discuss a novel method developed of taking thermal imaging and creating strip charts of the maximum and minimum temperatures on the track, third rail, and overhead wire. This is a valuable tool to identify hot spots that may cause fires including stray currents, failing bonds, etc. Additionally, its useful to find leaking tunnel conditions. Lastly this presentation will discuss the use of these types of vehicles for aiding walking inspections and enabling more inspections to be carried out from the office as compared to walking the track.