Track systems suffer from many types of degradation – for example, wheel and rail wear, rail defect initiation and propagation, ballast degradation due to tamping and poor drainage.
Expert understanding of degradation is vital if it is to be corrected, slowed and managed. Tata Steel’s multi-disciplined team has spent many years studying the in-service performance of rail networks, monitoring both plain line and switches & crossings.
The range of track monitoring services Tata Steel provides includes:
- Rail gauge geometry measurements for plain line and switches & crossings
- Rail wear (profile)
- Corrugation surveys
- Non Destructive Testing to industry standards
- Visual inspection, including characterisation of rolling contact fatigue and other rail defects
- Visual inspection of track components (e.g. condition of clips, sleepers and ballast)
- Rail and sleeper displacement measurement
- Continuous monitoring of track components, e.g. strain gauging
- Track sub-structure integrity surveys
Applying detailed knowledge of the track system and sophisticated data analysis techniques, Tata Steel can establish:
- The mechanisms of track degradation
- The rates at which individual components and the system as a whole deteriorate
- The validity of theoretical models developed to predict track system behaviour and degradation
- Appropriate techniques for addressing and controlling track quality to minimise disruptive unscheduled maintenance
All data gathered through track monitoring can be interpreted through intelligent data analysis or used in conjunction with Tata Steel’s comprehensive suite of system modelling tools.