OLE inspection equipment

India's Research Designs & Standards Organisation has awarded two contracts totalling £1·6m to SMIS of Guildford, Britain, for overhead line inspection equipment using instrumented pantographs. 16 units will be installed in new vehicles built by the Integral Coach Factory and another in an inspection car being refurbished by BHEL.

The roof-mounted equipment is able to measure a wide range of parameters. These are processed on-board using a Pentium computer linked to a 16-channel chart recorder. All data is stored to disc for off-line analysis.

Measurements taken by transducers, accelerometers and load cells include position of the contact wire, contact force, smoothness of pan contact and the location of hard spots. Light sensitive devices detect the passage of overhead structures in daylight; equipment able to operate at night or in tunnels is being developed. An auto iris colour video camera records interaction between pantograph and contact wire.

An axlebox-mounted generator outputs pulses for processing by a speed-location unit. Marks are placed by a chart recorder after every 1 km of inspection, and this data is also stored on disc. Parameters for processing the raw data can be changed at will, and derived measurements such as the quality of current collection can be calculated.

Maximum speed during inspection is 160 km/h, but the equipment will normally be used at lower speeds. Compensation for vehicle movements such as body roll is automatic.

SMIS has also developed video-based structure-gauging equipment, which can measure to an accuracy of ?±10mm in the vertical plane and ?±20mm horizontally at a speed of 65 km/h.

SMIS, Great Britain

Reader Enquiry Number 143

Container tracer

ON JUNE 26 German Transport Minister Matthias Wissmann launched a satellite-based wagon, container and swap body tracking system called TraceCare, which uses solar-powered GPS technology. Following trials, a pre-series build of 1000 units is going on sale this autumn priced at DM1500 to DM2000 each.

Developed by TransCare with Consultec, Motorola, ITT Cannon, Mannesmann Mobilfunk and Lemo-Solar, the first prototypes were tested last year in Germany and Poland, and this year in Romania and Hungary. Users involved in the trials include DB Cargo, Intercontainer-Interfrigo, Birkart Globistics and Swiss freight forwarder Bertschi AG.

With intelligent software, users can find the location of a fitted vehicle at any time, but the units can also deliver regular reports at times fixed by the customer up to 16 times a day. TraceCare units can provide extra information such as interior temperature of a container, and detect load movements in transit or determine whether the vehicle is empty or loaded. Reports are numbered continuously in sequence so that a user can detect if a report has failed.

Temperature-monitoring has been tested by Intercontainer-Interfrigo on three refrigerated wagons; ICF plans to equip 300 wagons, and fit around 2000 of its 6000-strong intermodal fleet with location equipment, although it is evaluating rival systems.

Transcare, Germany, Reader Enquiry Number 144

Products In Brief

  • GPT Strategic Communications Systems has commissioned an OpenNEWS system from Kingston Voiceware costing £50000 to manage the trackside telephone network on Hong Kong's Airport Railway.
  • London Undergound is testing TreadVIEW from AEA Technology for monitoring wheel tread wear on its Victoria line. With the profile highlighted by laser, pictures taken by a camera below rail level are analysed by computer and downloaded to produce a database of individual wheel wear histories.
  • Texas Transportation Institute is investigating the use of GPS in place of track circuits to activate level crossing gates and warning systems. TTI suggests that using crossing-mounted warning horns would reduce noise levels from about 115 to 60dBA, and proposes illuminating crossings as a train passes.
  • Voith has supplied T211rzz turbo transmissions with spring couplings, as well as cooling systems, for Class 46 shunting locos being refurbished by Kenya Railways and fitted with Cummins NTA855L3 engines.
  • DB Cargo has received the first flat wagon with a floor 845 mm above rail to carry swap bodies of car parts. Assembled by Graaf Transportsysteme, they incorporate couplers and brake gear from withdrawn vehicles.

Weighing without bridges

Ukraine's GPP Obedineniyte Azot chemical plant in the Lugansk region has installed three Weighline vehicle weighing systems from Railweight: two in-motion systems at loading stations for urea and ammonium nitrate, and a static unit for general train weighing. Each has a rated capacity of 22 tonnes per axle.

Installation involved the replacement of a section of rail by a section fitted with Weighline transducers in the Railweight factory. Printouts of tare, gross and net weights are produced for each vehicle, with this data and train and wagon identification numbers automatically transmitted via an RS232 interface to the customer's computer. A floppy disk drive provides local back-up.

Railweight, Reader Enquiry Number 142