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Paul Bladon
VP Business Development, Wayside Inspection Devices Inc

How has wayside condition monitoring, as an specialised industry, evolved over


the last decade?
How were early Bogie Performance Detectors (BPD) used to evaluate bogies, and
what were the challenges?
How do modern BPD evaluate the wheel-rail interface itself, and what have been
the experiences in improving the utilisation of this information?

Summary

Over the last decade, the development and deployment of wayside bogie condition
monitoring systems have facilitated signiBcant progress for the safety and efBciency
of railway operations. A variety of systems employing a range of non-contact
technologies have been developed to focus on speciBc bogie components such as
journal bearings, wheel proBle, internal wheel defects, springs, brake blocks, wheel
Gats, internal axle defects, etc.

These systems that examine speciBc bogie components have greatly enhanced
depot inspections made by railway personnel. Also, as the condition of the bogie
component evaluated does not change with speed, most of these systems could be
installed on low-speed track near depots. However, because of this design, these
component-speciBc systems are unable to provide a holistic assessment of whether
bogies are performing as intended; as this requires an optimized wheel-rail interface
at all speeds.

The early Bogie Performance Detectors (BPD) attempted to provide an evaluation of


a bogie by measuring the rail lateral forces and L/V in curves, at track speed. These
early BPD encountered a number of inherent limitations. The modern optical-based
BPD overcomes the limitations of the force-based systems by directly measuring the
key parameters to evaluate the wheel-rail interface, speciBcally the wheelset Angle of
Attack and Tracking Position, as well as the lateral dynamic stability (Hunting) of
each bogie, to provide an accurate and holistic understanding.

Wheelsets or bogies that are not performing as intended reveal when the wheel-rail
interface is fundamentally compromised. Beyond any single component, a sub-
optimal wheel-rail interface is primarily responsible for accelerated wear regimes on
both rolling stock and rail, resulting in higher maintenance costs, higher derailment
risk, and higher rolling resistance.

This paper examines how BPD data is used to identify wheelsets and bogies that will
experience accelerated/degenerative wheel wear early in the process, to break the
cycle of repeated premature wheelset replacement, as well as repeated
replacements of non-causal components. Advances in the identiBcation of
derailment-level risks is also discussed, by analysing recent experiences of three
North American railways. This paper also examines how recent advances of BPD
data analysis is improving the understanding of bogie geometry and bogie hunting,
and how this is being applied to target speciBc wheel wear and speciBc failed bogie
components and, just as importantly, address speciBc wear regimes on the rail
infrastructure.

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