Visual Measurement System for Wheel-Rail Lateral Position Evaluation

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Feb 11;21(4):1297. doi: 10.3390/s21041297.


Railway infrastructure must meet safety requirements concerning its construction and operation. Track geometry monitoring is one of the most important activities in maintaining the steady technical conditions of rail infrastructure. Commonly, it is performed using complex measurement equipment installed on track-recording coaches. Existing low-cost inertial sensor-based measurement systems provide reliable measurements of track geometry in vertical directions. However, solutions are needed for track geometry parameter measurement in the lateral direction. In this research, the authors developed a visual measurement system for track gauge evaluation. It involves the detection of measurement points and the visual measurement of the distance between them. The accuracy of the visual measurement system was evaluated in the laboratory and showed promising results. The initial field test was performed in the Vilnius railway station yard, driving at low velocity on the straight track section. The results show that the image point selection method developed for selecting the wheel and rail points to measure distance is stable enough for TG measurement. Recommendations for the further improvement of the developed system are presented.

Keywords: image processing; in-service trains; lateral displacement of the wheelset; railway; track gauge measurement; track geometry.