JR West to improve rail inspection with Italian equipment

West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) will replace night visual checks on the Sanyo Shinkansen tracks with a high-tech Italian inspection vehicle in order to detect safety problems. The 16-meter-long car was constructed by Italian company Mermec S.p.A. This system will be introduced in Japan for the first time. The cost is estimated at 700 million yen (USD 6.2 million).
The Italian-made vehicle can efficiently and automatically detect defects on the tracks. While running at a maximum of 50 km/h, it captures images of rails and cross-ties with seven cameras installed underneath, and then promptly measures and analyzes them.
The tests will start from September and the system will be put into practical use in five years. In the future, the new inspection vehicle will be used on other lines as well, such as the Hokuriku Shinkansen and local railway lines.

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