Advances in rail digitalization 2 minutes spent reading

Advances in rail digitalization

Volkmar Held
As a freelance writer, Volkmar Held reports for voestalpine on topics that move people. The content of his stories ranges from archaeometallurgy to future technologies.

Rail transport is rapidly becoming digitalized. It is based on the comprehensive digital monitoring of railway systems – the keyword is “smart data”. voestalpine is supporting rail operators in this digitalization process.

Already almost 85 percent of trucks on our roads are monitored and controlled in real time. Accurate distance measurements, information on wear and vehicle condition, and precise fleet management all serve to give trucks an advantage over more environmentally sound rail transport. But the railways have begun the race to catch up.

Cooperation required

Only by working together can industry and infrastructure operators overcome the challenges involved in achieving the comprehensive digital monitoring of lines and rolling stock. The focus lies in ensuring maximum railway network availability, reducing life cycle costs (LCC) and a positive ecological balance. The primary instrument is the digital monitoring of railway systems.

© Priestman Goode

© Priestman Goode

Data hunter-gatherers: voestalpine Railpro

“Digital railways” means collecting and processing huge quantities of data. Prepared in the form of user-specific smart data, it is made available to operators and their contractors. voestalpine company Railpro, working together with Dutch rail management company ProRail, demonstrates how this can be achieved:

  • Railpro fits tracks and other assets with RFID sensors;
  • The sensors are connected to measuring systems in trains;
  • ProRail records the data and the contracted engineering company provides basis information for procurement and servicing.

Smart data in use

Analyzing and preparing the huge volumes of data provides the basis for performance and LCC-focused decision-making. Smart data can provide infrastructure operators, system suppliers and construction companies with comprehensive information. It also provides the basis for implementing the MEAT principle–Most Economically Advantageous Tender–for public tenders.

Volkmar Held