Rail

Rail track inspection invention receives 2nd patent

Posted on April 24, 2013

Two Marshall University professors received a second patent for an invention they say will make inspection of railroad tracks safer, more accurate and less expensive than current methods.

Engineering professors Dr. Richard Begley and Dr. Tony Szwilski recently were notified that their Canadian patent application has been approved. It is the first Canadian patent awarded for an invention developed at West Virginia-based Marshall. They were awarded a U.S. patent last year.

Their system, which uses a combination of GPS devices, cameras and ground penetrating radar to measure track wear and other problems, has taken more than 10 years to develop.

Currently, they say, track inspectors have to rely largely on a limited number of multi-million dollar inspection machines that are only available to inspect the tracks a few times a year. These inspections are used in combination with bi-weekly visual observations, which must be obtained by foot in some cases.

“Track inspection the way it's done today is a highly specialized skill. It is labor intensive and very physically demanding. It can also be quite dangerous," said Begley.

The researchers say the invention is intended to complement the visual inspections and should help inspectors identify problems faster.

Their device uses basic "off-the-shelf" components wired together and mounted on a mobile platform that fits snugly on the rail. The platform is attached to a sports utility vehicle or rail bike adapted to run on the tracks.

Although the components are readily available, the inventors are quick to point out that the GPS system in their device is a specialized type, not the typical navigation system found on mobile phones or in passenger vehicles.

"Otherwise, we used readily available equipment to build the system," Begley added. "That makes it a relatively affordable option, so we're pretty excited about the possibilities."

Begley and Szwilski used federal and state funding to produce a prototype of the device, which they used for field testing in cooperation with the railroad industry. Although the system was designed specifically to monitor railroad tracks from the vehicle to which it is attached, the inventors say there may also be applications for the technology to be mounted directly onto railcars and other platforms.

"We're encouraged because this technological innovation has been industry 'pulled' by three major railroad companies keenly interested in applying this technology to address their specific needs,” said Szwilski. “We think there's a market."

He and Begley are now working with Marshall's Technology Transfer Office to identify companies that might be interested in commercializing the technology.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Bombardier to provide up to 175 trams for Brussels

The first firm order under this framework contract is for 60 Flexity trams and is valued at approximately $206 million.

Toronto's Metrolinx, Airport Authority team to study transit connections

The advancement of work to better integrate transit projects into Canada’s busiest airport will help connect the country’s second largest employment zone and reduce highway congestion.

Study finds untapped development potential around MBTA rail stations

Vacant and underutilized land surrounding 13 Gateway City commuter rail stations could house up to 230,000 residents and 230,000 jobs.

MBTA improves real-time information for subway service

Using more sophisticated data to generate better predictions, and train arrival times are now refreshed every six seconds.

Charlotte's new light rail extension increases rail ridership by 48%

With the opening of the extension, the LYNX Blue Line now connects one side of Charlotte to the other.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close