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Axle Counting Systems

Axle counter systems are becoming increasingly popular in the area of track vacancy systems with most rail operators having already installations of axle counter systems or even fully switched to this modern and reliable technique of wheel detection. There are many advantages of using axle counters in comparison to track circuits, for example, lower life-cycle costs, higher reliability and better management of long sections, special functions and further benefits.

The track sections "clear" and "occupied" information is essential for the correct function of an interlocking system, which uses the safe information from the axle counter system to confirm that a section is clear. Until now, interlocking systems mainly use relay and opto-coupler based interfaces to acquire the information sent by the Axle Counter System. Current developments show that new and upcoming interlocking systems tend to use a safe protocol interface to exchange information between the axle counter system and the interlocking.

Added value:

Compared to track circuits, axle counting systems offer several advantages making it the most promising track occupancy technology used nowadays.

  • Much higher reliability than in track circuits, resulting from the lack of connection with rails (resistant to lightning damage)
  • Axle counters are proved more reliable than track circuits (over 5 – 6 times, based on long time monitoring)
  • Resistant to poor ballast and track conditions
  • Resistant to climatic influence (track circuits are not reliable in wet conditions)
  • Reduction of maintenance costs (one inspection every 12 months)
  • Possibility of building long distance sections and more turnouts within one section
  • More information for other systems (speed, number of axles, ...)
  • Application of axle counter is much cheaper than track circuits

Wheel Sensors

Wheel sensors are used to detect the wheel passage of a train. Depending on the environmental factors and the requirements, voestalpine offers two different types of wheel sensors. Both types of wheel sensors work with both generations of the axle counting system.

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