Finnish Railways collects data on turnouts

VR FleetCare and the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency have started a new pilot project. It is devoted to the closer examination of 80 railway turnouts. The obtained data will help both participants to better understand the causes of the failures and to prevent traffic disruptions.

Within the pilot project, VR FleetCare, the division of Finland’s national railway company VR Group focused on the maintenance of rolling stock, has set up seven measurement points at major junctions across the country. The equipment for this project was produced by Vire Labs, a Finnish supplier of IoT solutions based on artificial intelligence. The measurement points will be used to monitor the operation of 80 turnouts. Together with the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency (FTIA), the railway company will collect real-time information about the condition of those switches.

The obtained data will be analysed in order to understand the causes of deviating performance or failures. “Condition monitoring and predictive maintenance of switches benefit the owner of the railway network, the maintenance providers and the traffic operators using the railway network. In the future, we plan to offer this service also on the global railway market,” said Mikko Alanko, Vice President for Digital Services at VR FleetCare.

Fewer disruptions

By monitoring the performance of turnouts, VR FleetCare and FTIA expect to reduce the maintenance costs and the number of traffic delays. In 2019 there were over 5,000 traffic disruptions on the Finnish railway network caused by the turnout failures.

“More detailed data helps us improve the availability of tracks and reduce switch-related disruptions to rail traffic. We aim to receive the first signals of maintenance needs before any deviations are detected in switch operations. In this respect, condition monitoring would help improve the punctuality of trains,” noted Marko Lehtosaari, Specialist in Railway Maintenance at FTIA.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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