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Mapping of the electromagnetic environment on the railway: Condition monitoring of signalling assets

Knight-Percival, Alexander and Johnson, CI and Richards, Benjamin and Palmer, Scott and Bowring, Nicholas (2018) Mapping of the electromagnetic environment on the railway: Condition monitoring of signalling assets. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit. ISSN 0954-4097

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Abstract

Conventional track circuit condition monitoring systems are fixed at the wayside, with each installation reporting on a single track circuit. In this work, we present a custom-built, sensitive, magnetic field detection system, which can be fitted to the underside of a rail vehicle. With this system installed, some characteristics of an operating track circuit can be monitored from the vehicle whilst it is in motion. By using appropriate analysis techniques, it is possible to identify the signatures of equipment relating to audio frequency track circuits, the topic of this work. Analysing the signatures of track circuit equipment demonstrated that there were clear differences between track circuit assets. By building on other research into the behaviours of failing track circuits, and continuing to conduct this research, the authors believe that it is possible, and beneficial, to perform condition monitoring of track circuits from low-cost equipment mounted on the train. Coupling this with advanced analysis techniques will allow predictive maintenance of track circuits with very little capital outlay.

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