Improving spatial resolution in train-borne monitoring applications

Project: UK industry

Project Details


Infrastructure asset management is multi-faceted discipline within the rail industry that aims to improve the safety, reliability and availability of the system. The key to the system performance lies in the safety critical interface between the rolling stock and surrounding infrastructure. In particular, the rail to wheel interface and the Overhead Contact System (OCS) (on electrified routes) need to be well characterised and understood. Track and OCS monitoring are vastly different but can be equally susceptible to erroneous measurements that in some cases are in the magnitude of millimetres.
Train-borne monitoring consists of instrumented vehicles that regularly travel along the rail line to characterise the existing geometry as well as the dynamic interface between the rail and train. The ultimate goal of this analysis is to identify defects on the track and OCS to inform maintenance and thereby ensure safe line operation for both passenger and freight rolling stock.
The sheer scale the UK rail system ensures that the data capture, analysis and identification of specific geometric defects on the track and OCS is challenging. Absolute coordinate measurement methods such as GPS are sometimes used in this assessment. Alternatively, relative positioning methods such as laser-based readings are used to register the location of the measurements in relation to the track. These methods have differing levels of accuracy and reliability, and can provide conflicting results in some cases. This project aims to identify and explore current methodologies currently employed by the industry. This will then be used as a basis to investigate and process combined positional read-outs of track position, which can ultimately be compared to accurate maps of the installed line in order to significantly improve the spatial resolution of existing data collection.
This project will involve regular contact with industrial collaborators and will tackle problems of commercial interest. The nature of the project will be tailored to the specific interests of the successful student but is likely to involve some aspects of data processing and statistical analysis, as well as some simulation and modelling.
Short titleKick-off project (Train-Rail Infrastructure Solutions)
Effective start/end date9/09/19 → …