SPANISH National Railways is using four Multirail in-sleeper wheel force measuring units supplied by Schenck Process, following the completion of three months of testing.

Developed from established technology used to measure the weight of trains passing at low speeds, Multirail is able to highlight wheel flats and other faults on trains passing at line speed. As well as allowing operators to limit the damage caused to the track by faulty rolling stock, the track load data obtained can be used to plan maintenance and tamping intervals.

Multirail uses a weighbeam permanently bolted to the rail and sleeper, allowing load forces to be transferred as normal without affecting vertical force measurements. Seven successive Multirail sleepers are installed in the track, continuously recording the wheel forces from passing trains to ensure that the measuring distance is greater than the wheel circumference.

A concrete weighing sleeper was developed by Pfleiderer to provide a rugged housing for the measuring equipment. This is almost identical to a standard sleeper, minimising changes to the track, and a complete Multirail system can be installed on a line in less than 4h.

Electronics calculate which vehicle a particular wheelset belongs to. Single wheel loads and dynamic overloads are calculated, and flats and other problems identified. Multirail can handle over 50000 wheels per day, with each signal processed and evaluated in less than 2sec.

Operators anywhere in the world can access the reports, which present the data in a compact, graphical format so asymmetries and overloading can be easily identified.

Schenck Process GmbH, Germany

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