Parameters measured and measuring systems for the track infrastructure

Identifying the track geometry involves measuring the geometrical features of each rail as well as the relative displacement of one rail in relation to the other.

In order to quantify the track geometry, the rails are depicted as lines in a three-dimensional space and these lines are then projected on two-dimensional planes. As soon as the track geometry is recorded, the geographical location must be identified for each measurement.

Since the track geometry directly influences the ride quality of a vehicle travelling on rails, an accurate measurement is decisive for the evaluation of operating safety.

The railways and supervisory authorities record the track systematically to observe a deterioration of the track quality and to identify track defects. Data on the previous condition of the track allow the railways to estimate the speed of the deterioration in track quality and to optimize the infrastructure maintenance. Supervisory authorities use track geometry data for allocation of the maximum permissible travelling speed for sections of track.

The parameters recorded in the various measuring tasks must be appropriate for the defined work, e.g. for tamping work, track bed rehabilitation, work on the catenary, corrugation grinding, etc.

Plasser & Theurer has invested a great deal of development work not only in measuring systems developed in-house but also in purchased measuring and video systems. Today, with this specialized knowledge, the best measuring systems and measuring technologies can be operated in combination to increase the track quality of the network.

Standard measuring systems

  • Non-contacting track geometry measuring system with integrated GPS navigation and optical gauge measurement (dual OGMS) for recording the track geometry.

Optional measuring systems

  • Rail profile measuring system
  • Software package for calculating the equivalent conicity (possible only in combination with the rail profile measuring system)
  • Axle Box Acceleration Measuring System
  • Corrugation Measuring System
  • Tunnel Clearance, Ballast Profile, Track Center Distance Measuring System
  • Catenary Wire Geometry Measuring System with Pole Detection System
  • Pantograph for dynamic catenary wire geometry measurements
  • Catenary Parameter Measuring System (voltage, pantograph pressure, etc.)
  • Monitoring system for contact wire wear
  • Traction Plate Position Measuring System
  • Ultrasonic Rail Flaw Detection System

Optional video systems

  • Driver’s View Video System (in direction of travel)
  • Video system to monitor catenary wire position
  • Track Component Video Monitoring System (rail surface, rail fasteners, rail fishplates, tie conditions)
  • Third Rail Video System
  • Thermal Imaging Video System
  • Head Check Monitoring System (cracks at the gauge side of the rail head)