Development of Railway Track Condition Monitoring from Multi-Train In-Service Vehicles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A cabin based track monitoring system has been developed which makes use of the existing on-board GSM-R cab radio present in the majority of trains operating in the UK. With the addition of a low-cost sensor, type, location and severity of the track defects are reported using the existing radio platform. The system improves safety and network performance by efficiently directing maintenance crews to the location of defects, minimising time spent on maintenance and inspection. Initially, vehicle dynamic simulation was used to test the feasibility of the system for defect monitoring and to develop compensation factors for vehicle type and operating speed. Novel on-board signal processing techniques are also presented through comparison of vibration response from sites with known defects and outputs from Network Rail’s (NR) New Measurement Train (NMT). Good agreement was reported for track faults in relation to vertical and lateral alignment and dip faults. Exceedances in peak acceleration were reported at the location of 55% and 100% of the reported level 1 and level 2 faults respectively. Standard deviation (SD) of the acceleration response (both vertical and lateral) have been compared to the SD of the NMT measured vertical and lateral track irregularities. Statically, very good agreement has been demonstrated, suggesting that the data acquired could be used to provide an indication of track quality thereby improving network performance, reducing rough ride and leading to improved passenger comfort. Improvements in the measured and statistical correlation is anticipated through the use, of multi-train / multi-journey, machine learning methods.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVehicle System Dynamics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 17 Dec 2019


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