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A dream team

Efficient monitoring of track geometry quality is the basis of efficient maintenance strategies. In Czechia, two new track inspection vehicles with different areas of application complement each other perfectly.

SZ, the Czech national infrastructure manager, maintains nearly 9,500 km of track, including all main lines and most regional lines. Two different track inspection vehicles perform all relevant measuring tasks.

Two track inspection vehicles, one database

The EM200 track inspection vehicle can be used with trains on main lines travelling at high speeds. It simply takes the measurements during scheduled train journeys. Our time-tested non-contacting Track Geometry Measuring System records the state of the track under realistic conditions.

The self-propelled EM100 serves to provide flexible, independent measuring runs on all other sections of the Czech network. By combining both track inspection vehicles, it is possible to map out the entire railway network with main and secondary lines in a uniform, systematic way. This enables long-term analyses and efficient maintenance planning. Measuring engineers on the vehicles can evaluate the data in real-time while the measuring run takes place.

The measuring system on both vehicles is based on the same technology, providing enormous advantages. It is possible to amalgamate the collected data for subsequent evaluations. Other aspects that were important to the operator include no downtime when one of the vehicles is out of service as well as the same system for operation and servicing.

The EM100: independent and flexible

The EM100 is based on our new measuring system series. It was equipped with measuring and evaluation technology specifically for Czech railways. These series vehicles in time-tested Plasser & Theurer quality provide the guarantees rail traffic requires. In addition, the track inspection vehicles were equipped with an ETCS train control system.

The new interior and exterior design of the EM100’s cabs stands out. It provides sufficient space for the comprehensive measuring equipment and working areas. In addition to the driver’s cabs, there are measuring workstations, a kitchenette, and a storage room. The heat and sound insulated engine compartment is fully separated from the cab’s interior.

The measuring technology combines all the known benefits of Plasser & Theurer systems at measuring speeds of up to 100 km/h:

An inertial track geometry measuring system (complies with EN 13848) with integrated GPS navigation and optical gauge measuring (single GMS) for recording the track geometry is combined with a rail profile measuring system with laser and cameras. It records the rail profile, rail height, width of the rail head as well as the rail inclination of both rails, rail head lips, track gauge, and minimum track gauge. By comparing these measurements in real-time with a defined target profile, the following parameters can be calculated for both rails: wear in height and width, wear in the cross-section surface of the rail head and at user-defined points on the rail head as well as the rail weight (rail ID).

The EM200: high measuring speeds in regular traffic

The EM200 is a vehicle equipped with comprehensive measuring equipment. As an NDCon Logic a.s. business partner, we integrated the complete measuring systems into the vehicle provided: a standard passenger coach. The measuring frame went in the bogie and the electronics in the vehicle. This meant that several design features of the bogies and the coach had to be modified. The EM200 is built for maximum driving and measuring speeds up to 200 km/h (towed).

It was designed with systems to measure the following:

  • Track geometry (with IMU and GMS boxes)
  • Rail profile and wear
  • Rail surface defects (corrugations)
  • Vertical and lateral axle bearing acceleration
  • Ballast profile (ballast distribution along the line)

Successful tests

Both vehicles could be released for operation at the end of the summer in 2021. In the months prior to that, both vehicles successfully completed three-step testing. Extensive test runs took place on the Velim train test circuit in Czechia.

By acquiring both measuring vehicles, the Czech rail infrastructure manager decided in favour of an optimal machine combination in order to measure and monitor various railway network parameters as well as to implement professional line management.