The North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL) are two of Singapore’s oldest heavy rail lines. These lines carry almost 2.5 million passengers from as early as 6am to around midnight each day.
Maintenance teams have only a few hours each night to rectify any infrastructure faults that may cause interruption to train service the following day. Relying solely on the human eye to discover faults across the 200km length of track on the NSEWL would be like searching for a needle in a haystack.
How do we overcome these challenges?
It was thus important for SMRT to develop a suite of condition monitoring systems to properly observe and gauge the status of the track and other components in the network, enabling maintenance teams to better plan maintenance schedules and priorities.
SMRT has been building its capabilities with condition monitoring technologies as early as 1995, with the introduction of the Multi-Function Vehicle (MFV). The MFV can scan long stretches of track, if not the entire line, to collect data that relates to track geometry, rail flaws and other measurements.
In this series of blog posts, we will introduce the rest of the condition monitoring technologies and how they help our maintenance teams.
To start off, here are ten quick facts about Condition Monitoring
# 1: Linear Variable Displacement Transducer (LVDT) was introduced in 2013
# 2: LVDT is also referred to as Third Rail Sag Detection System. It monitors the overall alignment of the power providing third rail.
#3: RailVision was introduced in 2009 and uses a combination of image capture and detection systems to identify faults on a track.
#4: RailVision is able to cover the entire NSEWL in a matter of hours. It would have taken days for patrol teams to cover the same distance.
#5: Multi-Function Vehicles (MFV) were first introduced in 1995 and has since been evolved under the Engineering Trains Branch team.
#6: MFV use other systems, such as one that utilises ultrasound technology, to detect rail condition.
#7: The Laser Trolley is one of the newer conditioning monitoring devices. It was introduced last year, in 2015
#8: In order to measure both rails at the same time, the Laser Trolley had to be customized according to SMRT’s specifications.
#9: The small rocks that the tracks rest on are known as the ballast and they have to be monitored as well.
#10: The conventional way for checking the ballast is to dig out and send samples to labs for testing.
Follow our series on Condition Monitoring as we go deeper into each condition monitoring device.