RailCheck: A WSN-Based System for Condition Monitoring of Railway Infrastructure
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Contemporary tools used to monitor railway points and crossings are ineffective. Routine inspections of these critical parts are still being performed manually by specially-trained inspectors. This creates higher expenditure and makes infrastructure difficult to maintain. With the expected further expansion of the railway network, this exerts increased pressure on infrastructure managers to ensure safe and predictable traffic. Hence there is a need for inexpensive and reliable condition-based maintenance systems. This paper describes an autonomous, near-real-time system built to this effect. It is based on acceleration measurements of train-track interaction, when the train is present. Using a wireless sensor network (WSN), data are aggregated over the Internet of Things (IoT) low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) structure into the Internet, where the big-data post-processing is performed. The performance and suitability of this system were evaluated on tracks in real traffic conditions and were found to be potentially beneficial for this sector. The system was built over a three-year period as part of the DESTinationRAIL H2020 EU-project.