Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Running Europe's railways on safe and sound lines

EU researchers have developed a novel inspection system for monitoring railway tracks. This new system will improve the safety and increase the efficiency of the European rail network.
Running Europe's railways on safe and sound lines
High maintenance costs adversely affect the financial performance and competitiveness of rail transportation. Therefore, the European rail industry has set itself the target of reducing its overall maintenance expenditure by 30 % by 2020.

With this goal in mind, the 'Long range inspection and condition monitoring of rails using guided waves' (MONITORAIL) project, funded by the EU, was established. It set out to design a system able to check those railway lines with a high probability of defects, or for which conventional inspection techniques are hard to carry out.

During the MONITORAIL project, major difficulties concerning the system's automation, communication and remote control were resolved. On a more positive note, even in the most challenging weather conditions, the developed wireless system performed very well.

By using a combination of long-range ultrasonic inspection and acoustic emission-monitoring technologies, the project developed a cost-effective wireless monitoring system. In addition, the technology is capable of detecting small cracks in rails before they can cause catastrophic rail failure, leading to dire consequences.

In its final presentation of results, MONITORAIL demonstrated the system's reliability for successful detection of such tiny defects within rail samples under simulated service conditions. The data and analysis provided by the new system is available in real time and will increase current understanding of the origins of rail defects and the causes of their propagation.

Exploitation of the project results will also create a number of new jobs primarily within the partner countries but also in other EU Member States in years to come.

Related information

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top