Rebecca Taylor B. Eng (Hons) Mech
Signals Engineer, Public Transport Authority of Western Australia
This paper considers the problem of detecting breaks in a rail. It provides a review of types of rail break, which types need to be detected and why their detection is necessary. It also tackles the question of where the responsibility for detecting broken rails lies.
Maintenance and management of the rail and track assets are the responsibility of the track maintenance group. Hence detection of conditions relating to the rail must therefore fall within that scope. Further to this, Signalling systems cannot be relied upon to detect all types of rail break. Signalling systems employing communications based train position detection or axle counters have no mechanisms whatsoever for detection of broken rails.
This paper proposes a possible system that may be able to provide a better solution for detection of broken rails than traditional signalling systems and can do it independently of the signalling system.
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