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Development of a Novel Integrated Inspection System for the Accurate Evaluation of the Structural Integrity of Rail Tracks

GoTriple's project summary

The European rail industry is showing signs of steady recovery after a long period of decline. The technological advances in train design have led to the manufacturing of faster, greener and more comfortable trains making rail transport a more attractive option for passengers in comparison with other means of transportation. The ever growing need for the society to employ more environmentally friendly transportation policies is expected to further underline the economic and societal role of rail transport in achieving sustainable mobility across Europe in the years to follow. The European rail network is continuously getting busier with trains travelling at higher speeds and carrying more passengers and heavier axle loads than ever before. The combination of these factors has put considerable pressure on the existing infrastructure leading to increased demands in inspection and maintenance of rail assets. The expenditure for inspection and maintenance has thus grown over the last few years without however being followed by a significant improvement of the industry’s safety records. A large proportion of all infrastructure related accidents in the rail industry is due to rail failure. The continuous increase in train traffic, axle loads and speeds means that the failure of a rail section may result in very serious derailments, such as the one that took place in Hatfield, UK, in 2000, causing loss of life, injuries, severe disruption in the operation of the network, unnecessary costs, and loss of confidence in rail transport by the general public. INTERAIL seeks to practically eliminate rail failures by developing and successfully implementing an integrated high-speed system for the fast and reliable inspection of rail tracks. The application of the high-speed system will be complemented through the implementation of novel semi-automated testing equipment which will be deployed for the verification and evaluation of the defects detected during high-speed inspection.

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