Track inspection and monitoring systems are one of the most important technologies for track maintenance. For effective and labor-saving track maintenance, several types of new system or device are being developed. In Europe in particular a number of European Norms for track inspection have been established to standardize technology so that it can be exported around the world. In this paper, the author explains recent and future trends of track inspection and monitoring technologies, with a special focus on track geometry inspection and frog defect detection systems.
The era of collection, analysis and use of vast volumes of data also known as "Big Data" has dawned and has already made contributions to marketing, demand forecasting and creation of new business. Today there is a reflection on how Big Data can play a role in planning transport and administering and maintaining railways, in the hope that it will improve railway management and convenience to rail users. This report looks at the prospects of using big data in the railways and discusses studies on handling large quantities of data.
The Human Science Division of the Railway Technical Research Institute comprises 4 laboratories: Safety Psychology, Ergonomics, Safety Analysis and Biotechnology, and has been conducting human scientific research to improve the safety/comfort of railways linked to issues such as psychological aptitude tests, human error prevention, driver support, abnormality/accident handling, ride comfort, risk assessment, and user environments. This paper outlines recent topics related to human science research of safety administration support, education and training, improvement of the on-board environment and other environmental investigations.
The crystallite size and dislocation density in RCF (rolling contact fatigue) affected layers have been identified using X-ray Fourier analyses on serviced rails. The evaluation of the crystallite size and dislocation density is based on modified Williamson-Hall and Warren-Averbach models. This evaluation enables quantification of the microstructure evolution in the RCF layer with the increase of accumulated loading (in terms of MGT - Million Gross Tonnes) as well as the identification of the most deteriorated locations in the RCF layer. In summary, the surface layer experiences the highest deterioration in the evaluated cases.
To evaluate running stability, equivalent conicity was computed by considering the combination of a new rail profile and arc wheel profile (for Shinkansen). The new rail profile was obtained by applying the radius of curvature of the top surface of a JIS 50kgN rail, 300 mm. The computation results when using the new rail showed small equivalent conicity and high running stability regardless of the degree of wear of the wheel. Furthermore, results from vehicle dynamics simulations showed that the new rail was endowed with running characteristics equivalent to those of JIS 60kg rail, and no evidence was found of any significant influence on running safety.
This paper describes research into the dynamic responses measured on a commercial-line with ballasted track using sensing sleepers and sensing stones both of which were developed by the author, for the purpose of gaining new knowledge that will contribute to measures against track deterioration and effective track maintenance. The research further analyzed the measurement results in terms of the spectral characteristics of ballast behavior and the vertical natural vibration characteristics of ballast layers. The results of the spectral analysis show that the rigid-body vibration mode of sleepers is in a frequency range lower than 100 Hz and also reveal that the elastic vibration modes of ballast layers are in a frequency range as wide as 400 - 800 Hz. This series of analyses suggests the possibility that the dynamic load of a passing train is hard to damp, affected by its resonance. Furthermore, the author performed a full-scale drop-weight impact test and found from the test result that when the impact load works on a ballast layer, unloading causes abrupt release of stress, which led to decreased contact force between particles and a jumping behavior in the ballast layer.
Various radio communication systems are used in railway systems such as Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) systems, passenger information service systems, wireless sensor networks, etc. Designing or evaluating work to build radio communication systems used on railways is time consuming and expensive, given today's environment. Thus, as a contribution to this work, this paper describes the development of a simulation method to calculate transmission characteristics (receiving power, strength of interferences, bit error rates, flame loss rates, delays, etc.) with considering the railway-specific environment and usage. This paper describes features of the developed simulator and examples of simulation results.
The aim of this research was to improve the existing train operation and passenger flow simulator for detailed estimation of train movement on high frequency railway lines. For this purpose, a new method was introduced with calculates running time between stations depending on signal aspect, by simulating different signalling situations. A tool was added to calculate energy consumption for each estimated scenario. This paper explains the functions and features of the simulation system and offers an overview of the proposed method for calculating running time between stations. In addition, data was generated for a model high frequency line high, based on a hypothetical suburban commuter line to test to the calculation method.
This paper investigates a train control system design which can reduce the amount of signalling equipment required in a station. In this system, an on-board train positioning device detects the train position by using RFID tags on the sleeper. On-board interlocking equipment then commands the point machines in the closed-off block section in which the train is detected. This control mechanism operates using radio-communication. This system could therefore help reduce the amount of signalling equipment required in stations, such as wayside signals, interlocking machines and track circuits. In this paper, the authors report on the specifications of the system and on results from receiving tests with the RFID tag.
A coaching technique was developed to train drivers in operational safety. First, drivers took part in a self-assessment of their attention characteristics. Drivers were able to identify their weak points in the feedback, and were given the opportunity to think of possible ideas to prevent errors. In order to draw more ideas, group discussions were held. Managers then conducted interviews with their drivers using the coaching technique, and encouraged them to deepen their ideas to prevent errors. The validity of this technique was discussed based on results from follow up questionnaires given to the drivers.
We executed the social investigation in order to grasp risk cognition of users with regard to railway accidents and transportation disturbances. Based on the result of investigation, we constructed a "Risk cognition model of railway users" which consists of two factors. The first factor shows proximity of risk cognition, and another factor shows level of fear of risk cognition. Based on this model, we have developed a weighting method which reflects risk cognition of railway users.
In cold snowy regions, the number of level crossing accidents in winter is higher than in other seasons, therefore weather conditions, such as snow showers, are considered to have a large influence on accident occurrence. Previous studies have assessed the safety of level crossings solely from equipment data with no consideration of weather conditions. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to develop a method for assessing level crossing safety which takes into account weather condition factors. The method was applied in a case study and its assessment precision was improved.