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From Handcars to Integrated Autonomous Inspection Systems -The Progress of Rail Inspection

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About one-third of rail accidents are caused by track defects, such as broken or misaligned rails that could cause a train to derail [1].

Originally rail inspections were done visually. Not only was this time consuming and expensive, since often equipment had to be taken out of service, but in many cases it proved to be reactive measures rather than proactive. Increased rail traffic and higher speeds have led to shorten maintenance windows. This is where predictive automated inspection tools are becoming crucial for the success of the railroad industry. These types of inspections could help reach higher safety standards, increase productivity, and reduce operating costs. Continue Reading

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Can Big Data Help Keep Railroads Safe?

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Photo from Pixabay is licensed under CC0.

When most people see a freight train go by, they do not realize the systems and processes used to ensure their safety and the safety of the train or that each cars performance is being tracked continually. Safety is a major concern for all forms of transportation and the rail industry is certainly no exception. In 2015 an estimated 1,000 service interruptions were prevented by using newly developed systems [1]. Continue Reading

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Role of Positive Train Control in Rail Safety

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railroad-tracks

Photo from Pixabay is licensed under CC0

Under the Rail Safety Improvement Act, all freight and commuter railroads in the United States are to be equipped with Positive Train Control (PTC) systems by the end of 2015. This decision was taken by Congress in 2008 and is intended to improve safety of rail transport by reducing the risk of human error. It is expected that these measures will contribute to the prevention of train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, train movement through a switch left, and to the protection of roadway workers and their equipment. Continue Reading

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Technology Innovations in Video Surveillance

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cameras

Photo from Pixabay is licensed under CC0

The trend of rising crime rates and security concerns is increasing the demand for video surveillance systems. This, in turn, is driving the market towards new technological solutions which are expected to improve both social and personal safety. While it is virtually impossible to stop a crime from ever happening, however, with a fully functional surveillance security system, consumers have a greater chance of either deterring crime or capturing the criminals after the event occurs. To this end, many manufacturers of video surveillance systems use the latest technical developments and implement the most advanced features within the surveillance systems. Continue Reading

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Towards Safer Railroads: Simulation Testing Solutions

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rail

Photo from Pixabay is licensed under CC0

Managing safety on the rail network presents a major challenge to the rail industry as it faces pressures from rising numbers of passengers and high-speed trains.  Nowadays, trains can travel faster, are heavier, and require a greater distance to stop.  Possibilities for accidents include derailment, head-on collision with other trains traveling the opposite direction, and collision with automobiles at a level crossing.  Level crossing collisions are relatively common in the United States, resulting in death for about 500 people each year. (Source: Federal Railroad Administration) Continue Reading