Finland tests new technology to reduce rail traffic disruptions

VR FleetCare, a company offering railway fleet management, and the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency (FTIA) have launched a joint pilot project focused on collecting and analysing data to obtain real-time information about the condition of switches, to reduce railway traffic disruptions. The equipment for the project was produced by Vire Labs, a Finnish supplier of IoT solutions based on artificial intelligence.

Seven measurement points at interlockings located at major traffic points around the railway network were set up by
VR FleetCare, under the testing phase. They will be used to test the operation of some 80 switches. Based on the measurement data, incipient switch failures can be detected from deviating turntable performance. This will help prevent traffic disruptions due to such failures.
The measurement data can be used to steer maintenance based on the condition of switches, reducing maintenance costs and increasing the life-cycle of switches.

“More detailed data helps us improve the availability of tracks and reduce switch-related disruptions to rail traffic. We aim to receive the first signals of maintenance needs before any deviations are detected in switch operations. In this respect, condition monitoring would help improve the punctuality of trains,” said Marko Lehtosaari, who is responsible for railway maintenance at FTIA.”
Last year, switch failures caused over 5,000 disruptions to traffic in Finland.

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