Data processing and data evaluation

The variety of measuring equipment available for measuring track geometry, rail profile and rail surface as well as clearance gauge and catenary wire position demands a highly efficient system to process the data.

These measuring systems are capable of recording data at speeds of up to 300 km/h with an appropriately high density of data. A well planned, safe and efficient data network is therefore required to process the data in real-time.

On-board network

For operation on the track recording cars, Plasser & Theurer offers a specially developed on-board computer network system to display, record and evaluate all data recorded during the measuring run. This LAN (local area network) allows all captured data to be linked in the system’s server (EM1) and to display and evaluate all results on each of the linked terminals (clients), including large image projection in the presentation room. Various programs allow graphic representation, processing and evaluation of the measured parameters.

The heart of the system, the EM1 data collection computer, collects all data from the measuring sub-systems (digital data and analogue data) in real-time and gives them a location reference. The data are then stored and stored and can be distributed to the various computer work stations for evaluation and for immediate display.

All measured parameters can be shown in any combination required in the form of measuring graphs, either displayed on the linked terminal monitors or printed immediately as a document. The type of display, the arrangement of the measuring parameters on the graphs, the scale factors, etc., can be configured freely and adapted to special requirements.

The stored video recordings can be linked to the measured data and displayed at the correct location.

On-board and off-board software

During the recording run all measured parameters are analyzed in real-time against several threshold limits. From the measured data new parameters can be calculated and analyzed together with the measured parameters, using their own thresholds.

Measurements outside of the threshold limits are highlighted in color immediately on the measuring graphs and reported in appropriate evaluations (threshold value and exception report).

Of course, all these options are also available after completion of the measuring run. The software required for displaying and analyzing the measured data is supplied with the track recording car and can be installed on any standard PC. This allows the operator to perform trend analyses, comparison reports, detailed evaluation of the measured parameters and more.

Analyzing systems

The proprietary Plasser & Theurer on-board analysis system checks and evaluates the measured data immediately during the measuring run for threshold exceedance. Plasser & Theurer has developed its own analysis programs as well as numerous special programs and add-ons. These are created and designed in cooperation with the customer and take into account the special requirements of each particular railway administration.

The programs calculate not only track quality indexes but also planning indexes for the respective track section based on the permissible maximum speed. Quality indexes are calculated for the following parameters: track geometry, subgrade, ballast, track gauge, rail surface. Varying the tolerance ranges makes the decision easy to what extent and with what urgency the track work has to be carried out. Single track geometry exceptions are also indicated. From the quality index a priority list for the track maintenance work can be compiled.

Off-board analysis

Apart from the analysis performed immediately during the measuring run, it is of course also possible to carry out further evaluations at a later point in time. For example, the following information can be processed:

  • Graphical processing of the quality indexes including single track geometry exceptions
  • Comparison of historical quality indexes
  • Comparison of track design data
  • Compilation of a “track profile”
  • Inclusion of other measured data, such as catenary wire measurements

Many large railway administrations have also developed computer-assisted information systems that contain all important data concerning their track networks. Plasser & Theurer offers railway administrations many opportunities for cooperation to set up such a system and has developed standardized off-board evaluation modules from which customer-specific evaluation systems can be created.