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R B FAIZ , S.SINGH

Department of Computer Science,

Loughborough University, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU

GREAT BRITAIN

R.Faiz @lboro.ac.uk, S.Singh@lboro.ac.uk

ABSTRACT

Track defects are deviation of actual from theoretical values of the tracks geometrical

characteristics. Track defects are macroscopic and geometric in nature and are exclusively the

consequence of train traffic [5]

Rail track maintenance has been typically based on use of reactive maintenance. In that case

discrete exeecedence of all measurements are compared against a pre-set threshold such that if

they exceed the threshold then reactive maintenance is required to be done. This is particularly so

in cases when current practices rely on conservative, engineering, decision. Besides it will not

inform staff regarding defects in rail track which can subsequently helps in predictive

maintenance.

This paper focuses on linear regression analysis of track geometry parameters which leads to

significant rail track maintenance productivity gains. The overall aim of the paper is to apply

preventive maintenance management to evaluate and prioritise condition monitoring effort across

network rail. Such research will result in effective and efficient maintenance management

resulting in low operating cost better train transit times for rail industry [2].

KEY WORDS: Predictive Maintenance Management, Rail Track, Track Geometry, CURV, Cant

Def, Cross Level, Dipped Left.

One of the most important railway maintenance avoids excessive cost normally

engineering tasks is effective and robust incurred by corrective maintenance. Besides it

condition monitoring, as track degradation helps preventing defective track components and

problems can have serious affect on the safety ensures that they carry out their intended functions

of train operations. In order to determine an throughout their service life. [3]

effective condition monitoring strategy it is There are two key approaches to preventive

necessary to analyze track geometry maintenance. One is Time Directed maintenance in

parameters. which time directed tasks are performed to prevent

Maintenance can be either corrective: defects. Other type of maintenance is

fixing on failure or it can be preventive: Condition-Based Maintenance which is also known

predicting failures before they happen. It is as on-condition maintenance or condition-directed

often very difficult to predict all maintenance maintenance or predictive maintenance. It is

and thus in reactive maintenance, expert designed to detect the start of a failure in

judgments are made on the basis of imperfect conditions where either failure prevention is not

information and previous experiences with a feasible or how it can be achieved is not yet

relatively short-term view of the future known. Condition maintenance is based on

impacts on future maintenance. periodic inspection of rail track parameters thus

helping in determining the true condition of rail

track in time.

COMPUTING and COMPUTATIONAL INTELLIGENCE

In rail industry, there is a widespread 4. Better rail profile (stronger steels) gives less

belief that corrective maintenance is always deterioration than rail profiles (weaker steels).

less economical than preventive maintenance 5. Track laid on blast deteriorates faster than slab

[4]. As a result, time-directed maintenance track.

becomes the norm of preventive maintenance 6. Stability of the track is dependent on type of

action, motivating the indiscriminate use of soil it is laid on.

overhaul or preventive replacement 7. Thicker and cleaner ballast layer is better

procedures. This approach to preventive than thinner and dirtier blast layer.

maintenance, firstly, wastes a lot of resources 8. Rate of deterioration of curved track is faster

in doing unnecessary tasks which will not than tangent track.

reduce defects in rail track and secondly it is 9. Track deterioration can also be prevented by

potentially risky [4]. better drainage.

Track geometry is the study and analysis of Track geometry is fundamental for the safe

the spatial position of rail track. X-axis defines passage of vehicles. Failing to be so, in which

the distance along the track towards the case, may result in disastrous consequences.

direction of the travel. Y defines the axis Rail defects are the most critical defects that

parallel to the running surface and Z defines affect the safety of train operations. Rest of the

the axis perpendicular to the running track defects which are non critical are may occur in

Track geometry has ballasts, sleepers, rail, the rail but do not affect the structural integrity

and clips etc. Now track geometry can of the rail or the safety of the trains operating

deteriorate because of frequent passage of over the defect.

heavy traffic, climate changes (weather), Degradation in track geometry due to

variations in soil conditions and geotechnical frequent passage of heavy rail traffic, effects of

movements. Each track is composed of two Climate changes Like for instance flooding,

types of structures: extreme cold etc, variations in soil conditions

The interaction between track components and Geotechnical movements will cause the track

under a moving wheel load causes a large to move away from the design geometry in both

impact load, which increases with increasing the vertical and horizontal planes and this

track irregularity and train speed. This is deterioration away from the design can cause

because impact load increases with an increase discomfort for passengers and eventually become

in the size of the gap underneath the sleepers. unsafe for the passage of trains. To ensure the

The impact load increases the stresses on the track can be repaired in good time, the

ballast which, as a result, increases ballast deterioration must be detected and the worst

settlement and ultimately results in a larger areas prioritised so that engineers can maintain

gap underneath the sleepers. Thus, degradation the track based on an urgency basis.

of track geometry tends to get faster. One the

most effective way of restoring a track which DIPPEDLEFT: Fish plate is a joint that is used

has lost his geometry is by tamping. However, to join two rails together longitudinally. These

this may also result in ballast break downs. longitudinal rails may be joined together by a

fish plate. When the joint wears out it dips on

Reasons for Rail track Deterioration: inner sides as shown in the diagram 14. It can

Common effects of trains on rail track which happen on either rail left (dipped left) or right

result in more frequent rail track deterioration (dipped right). Series of dips at regular intervals

thus resulting in maintenance of track are: in one or both rails of track can also cause

1. The number of trains passing through as derailment.

higher the number higher the rate of rail

track deterioration would be. CURV: A track can be either of three types:

2. A track may be subjected to heavy trains tangents, curves, and spirals. A tangent track

instead of light ones. refers to straight track (As shown in Figure 8)

3. Speed has an important influence on track and a curve track refers to a track with

deterioration as high speed tilt trains are measurable curvature (As shown in Figure 8).

worse than average speed trains.

COMPUTING and COMPUTATIONAL INTELLIGENCE

Figure 1 [3]

Figure 2 [3]

Track curves are typically identified by

degrees. As explained in Figure 9, a one- Cross Level: Cross Level is the difference in

degree curve is defined as a curved section elevation between the top surfaces of the two

of the track with a radius such that a 100-ft rails measured at right angles to the track as

cord corresponds to a one-degree arc explained in figure 12. On curves cross level is

The term spiral track refers to the often referred to as ‘cant’ or ‘super elevation’.

section of the track that acts as a smooth On curves the track will have a designed cross

transition between tangents and curves (As level to counteract the g forces involved in a

shown in Figure 8). train changing direction at speed.

So curvature (CURV) is the spatial

rate of turn in the horizontal plane of the

track. It can be measured by measuring the

distance between centres of string to the

centre of rail in a curve or it can even be

calculated by radius formula.

tilt) into curves to counteract the centrifugal Figure 3

(G) force, the track is canted (one rail raised

above the other) into the curve so that the So the cross level, not to be confused

forces are at equilibrium at the maximum with the super elevation, is the amount of vertical

line speed. This parameter calculates deviation between the left and right rail from

whether the cant is sufficient to ensure the their intended distance or it is the intended

comfort of passengers and safety of freight. increase in elevation of the outer rail above the

The difference between levels of two rails in inner rail in curve. The intended distance refers

a curve is called as track cant (which is same to the amount of super elevation. For instance, if

as super elevation) and is arranged to the super elevation is zero, then any difference

compensate lateral part of acceleration. A between the elevation of the left and right rail is

cant angle arises where cant is rearranged. the cross level.

Maximum value of cant is set with respect to If the super elevation, however, is a

stationary conditions and slowly running positive, for example, then the cross level is the

trains so as to avoid passenger discomfort at deviation from this super elevation. A positive

stand still or low speed and risk of cross level refers to the case when the left rail is

derailment of freight trains. It is than above the right rail, and a negative cross level

desirable to have cant deficiency some refers to an instance when the left rail is below

amount of uncompensated lateral the right rail. [26]

acceleration remains in the track plane. So in Super elevation is the amount of elevation

other words cant deficiency is the difference that the outer rail in a curve is raised above in

between equilibrium cant and the actual comparison to the inner rail. This is being done

cant. [17] to compensate centrifugal forces that the vehicle

will experience when travelling through a curve

for that reason the outer rail may be raised, or

super-elevated so as to tip the train inward. Now

super elevation can either be positive super

elevation: when the left rail is raised above the

COMPUTING and COMPUTATIONAL INTELLIGENCE

right rail or a negative super elevation when second value. Standard deviation is calculated so as

the right rail is raised above the left rail. to see how well mean values represent population,

the less they deviate the better the mean represents

the population

In regression table Adjusted R squared

(attempts to correct R squared to more closely

reflect the goodness of fit of the model in the

population) helps you to determine which model is

best or how well dependent variable can be well

predicted by the independent variables. In

regression, the R square coefficient of

determination is a statistical measure of how well

the regression line approximates the real data

Figure 4 [3] points. Higher the value of R squared the better the

model is. An R square of 1.0 indicates that the

regression line perfectly fits the data. Hence R

3. Experimental Design square is a statistic that will give some information

The current research paper focuses on about the goodness of fit of a model. Where as,

how well linear variables can be predicted standard estimate error is the standard deviation of

from rest of variables in same file using sample mean. It is a measure of how representative

regression model. The conclusions drawn from a sample is likely to be of the population. A small

the research are specific to rail data analysed standard error (relative to sample mean) indicates

and can not be generalized for all rail tracks that most sample means are similar to the

Altogether we had 4 base files of track population mean and so our sample is highly likely

geometry data. There were four base files, of to be a true representative of population.

different dates, for same patch that were

analysed. All four base files were aligned 3.1 Dipped Left

based on engineers line reference (ELR), Fish plate is a joint that is used to join two rails

Track ID, Miles and Yards and make all data together longitudinally. These longitudinal rails

files ready for analysis. may be joined together by a fish plate. When the

In terms of data analysis track geometry joint wears out it dips on inner sides as shown in

had number of statistical values of variables, in the diagram 14. It can happen on either rail left

itself explaining in great detail of what they (dipped left) or right (dipped right). Series of dips

are. Among all the variables dipped left, cross at regular intervals in one or both rails of track can

level, cant deficiency and curvature were also cause derailment.

linearly distributed. The highest mean value amongst all

Linear Regression estimates the independent variable was cantdef or cant

coefficients of the linear equation, involving deficiency (3.36) which means that if cantdef

one or more independent variables that best goes up by one mm then dipped left will go up

predict the value of the dependent variable. (because of positive relationship between them)

For each value of the independent variable, the by 3.36 mm. Where as, few lowest mean values

distribution of the dependent variable must be were of TOPRS, ALIGML, ALIGMS, TWIST 1

normal. The variance of the distribution of the and TWIST 2 was -0.00. Mean of R square value

dependent variable should be constant for all is 0.13 which means that this dependent variable

values of the independent variable. The can be predicted with less confidence by the

relationship between the dependent variable independent variables. Mean of standard

and each independent variable should be estimated error is 0.88, which is measured in

linear, and all observations should be comparison to sample mean, shows that the

independent sample may be or may not be a good

All four linear variables in each of four representation of population. The standard

base files are predicted from all other variables deviation of standard estimate error is 0.16 which

in same file. shows that mean of standard error is good

All values in the table i.e. dependent representation of population.

variables, constants, Adjusted R square,

standard estimate error have their mean as first

value in the table and standard deviation as

COMPUTING and COMPUTATIONAL INTELLIGENCE

As most trains can not lean (or tilt) into

curves to counteract the centrifugal (G) force, the

In Mean and Standard Deviation of track is canted (one rail raised above the other)

Dependent Dependent Variables into the curve so that the forces are at

Variables equilibrium at the maximum line speed. The

difference between levels of two rails in a curve

DIPPED CANT CROSS_ CURV is called as track cant (which is same as super

_LEFT _DEF LEVEL

elevation) and is arranged to compensate lateral

DIPPED part of acceleration.

.00 -.21 -.01

LEFT The highest mean value amongst all

.00 .56 .00 independent variable was curvature (0.20) which

DIPPED .28 -.01 -.02 .06 means that if curvature goes up by one mm then

RIGHT .07 .00 .024 .00 cant_def will go up (because of positive

CANTDEF .00 -.45 3.3 relationship between them) by 0.20 mm. Where

.00 .01 .13 as, among all independent variables TOPRS,

GAUGE -.00 -.09 .07 .38 TOPLS, TOPML, ALIGML, ALIGMS, TWIST

.00 .00 .94 .01 1 and TWIST 2 had -0.00 values. . Mean of R

CROSS square value is 0.86 which means that this

.00 -.52 3.05

LEVEL dependent variable can be well predicted by the

.00 .047 .085 independent variables. Where as mean of

CURV -.00 .206 .28 standard estimated error is 8.6, which is

.00 .015 .01 measured in comparison to sample mean, shows

TOPLS .01 .00 .07 .00 that the sample is not a good representation of

.01 .00 .24 .00 population. The standard deviation of standard

TOPRS -.00 .00 -.05 -.00 estimate error is 0.61 which shows that mean of

.01 .00 .22 .00 standard error is good representation of

TOPML population.

-.00 .00 -.00 .00

.00 .00 .00 .01

3.3 Cross Level

ALIGML .00 .00 -.02 -.02 Cross Level is the difference in elevation

.00 .00 .20 .06 between the top surfaces of the two rails

ALIGMS -.00 -.00 -.12 -.08 measured at right angles to the track.

.01 .00 .40 .19 The highest mean value amongst all

TWIST2 .00 .00 .10 -.01 independent variable was cant_def (-0.80) which

.00 .00 .16 .00 means that if cant_def goes up by one mm then

cross level will go down (because of negative

TWIST 1 .00 .00 -.18 .00 relationship between them) by 0.80 mm. Where

.01 .00 .04 .00 as, among all independent variables Dipped Left,

Constant .04 -34.6 1.78 6.62 Dipped right, TOPRS, TOPLS, TOPML,

.01 9.51 4.03 1.87 ALIGML, ALIGMS, TWIST 1 and TWIST 2

Adjusted had 0.00 values. Mean of R square value is 0.73

.13 .86 .73 .97

R Square which means that this dependent variable can be

.15 .02 .45 .00 well predicted by the independent variables.

Standard .88 8.6 12.53 2.15 Where as mean of standard estimated error is

Estimated .16 .61 12.30 .045 12.53, which is measured in comparison to

Error sample mean, shows that the sample is not a

good representation of population.

Because of the fact that standard deviation of

standard estimate error is very high, 12.30, so the

mean of standard error is not a good

representation of population.

COMPUTING and COMPUTATIONAL INTELLIGENCE

Curvature (CURV) is the spatial rate of analysis of track geometry parameters which

turn in the horizontal plane of track. The leads to significant rail track maintenance

highest mean value amongst all independent productivity gains. The conclusions drawn from

variable was cant_def (3.3) which means the research are specific to rail data analysed and

that if cant_def goes up by one mm then can not be generalized for all rail tracks.

curvature will go up (because of positive The aim of research paper is to apply

relationship between them) by 0.80 mm. preventive maintenance management to evaluate

Where as, among all independent variables and prioritise condition monitoring effort across

TOPRS, TOPLS, TOPML, TWIST 1 had network rail. Such research will result in

0.00 values and TWIST 2 had -0.01 values. effective and efficient maintenance management

Mean of R square value is 0.97 which means resulting in benefits like low operating cost,

that this dependent variable can be well better train transit times for rail industry [2].

predicted by the independent variables.

Where as mean of standard estimated error 4. REFERENCES

is 2.1, which is measured in comparison to

sample mean, shows that the sample is not a [1] Leedham, R.C.; Nelson, S, “Wheel /rail profile

good representation of population. The studies”, Railroad Conference, Proceedings of the

standard deviation of standard estimate error 1995 IEEE/ASME Joint, Page(s):159 – 162

[2] L. Ferreira.. and Murray, M, “Modelling Rail

is 0.04 which shows that mean of standard

Track Deterioration and Maintenance: Current

error is a good representation of population. Practices and Future Needs”, 1997.

[3] Darris L. White, “Statistical Characterization of

3. Conclusion Vehicle and Track Interaction Using Rail

Vehicle Response and Track Geometry

Preventive maintenance management Measurements”, Thesis submitted to the Faculty

of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State

can be used to determine defects in rail track University, July 29, 1998

and prevent them happening in future. Such [4] J. woodhouse, “Asset management decision

system can also help in identifying trends for making”, June 2001.

effective and efficient preventive [5] Alfelor R.M., Mc Neil S., (1994), ‘ Heuristic

maintenance management. Unfortunately the Algorithms for aggregating rail surface defect

pressure on rail road to reduce operating data’, ASCE, Journal of Transport Engineering,

costs usually result in cutting or eliminating Vol. 120, No. 2.

investment in research because it often does

not generate a short term return on

investment.

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