By Esat Kepenekli
Posted 82 days Ago

A Solution to the Impacts of Climate Change on Rail Infrastructure

Rail Tracks

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The ability to detect the presence of a train on a particular stretch of track is a key enabler for automatic signalling, and hence modern train control. There are two types of technology generally used for train detection, a track circuit or an axle counter. Track Circuits also have a side function (usually without any commitments) to detect complete rail breaks to an extent with the employed impedance bonds, but they are not able to catch many of the broken rail cases, and the recent trend is to use axle counters instead of track circuits. There are many benefits of using axle counters in comparison to track circuits, like lower life-cycle costs, higher reliability, and better management of long sections. It should be noted that the widespread use of axle counters may provide great benefits for interlocking, however, the axle counters do not provide any information at all for whether the rail physical condition is in a safe state for train traffic or not. This means that when we start using axle counters, verification of rail condition with an additional monitoring system becomes vital to know whether there are any defects in the rails. If this aspect is neglected somehow, it seems quite likely that this can lead to disastrous consequences both for ASSET & PASSENGER SAFETY.

The World’s Best Railway Infrastructure Owners are aware of the RISKS and they are searching for an Innovative & Accurate SOLUTION to the possible “Broken Rail” issues.

Broken Rail Detection (BRD) systems are being offered to close the safety gaps related to the rail integrity monitoring aspects. And, early detection of rail flaws is being more vital each day, due to increased speeds in rail transportation, either for passenger or freight trains. If track circuits are used at a railway line, it is surely needed to deploy a supportive BRD system to close the safety gaps, however, if axle-counters are used, a reliable BRD system definitely becomes a “MUST-HAVE” for safe rail transport operation.

The rail-mounted RailAcoustic® solution validates the health of the rail, identifies any breaks as soon as it occurs, and accordingly notifies the rail status immediately for the train dispatcher. RailAcoustic® thus increases throughput as tracks can be verified for operation instead of being blocked for days due to derailment accidents that can also have severe consequences. RailAcoustic® is designed for easy installation and track maintenance through the clamp mechanisms attached to the rail bottom without opening any holes or drilling on the rails. Its receivers identify even the partial rail cracks before a conventional track circuit could detect an electrical disconnect in the rail. Any complete break or a major partial break in the rail can be identified with a very accurate location within 100 m precision for safe train operation and ease of track maintenance. Rail-mounted RailAcoustic® components report to the back-office system to verify any detection. Messages are then passed to the signaling system or train control to take immediate action on the approaching or next trains passing the located breaks. This way, RailAcoustic® offers a near real-time detection and verification of breaks in rails – for safer and more profitable operation.

The RailAcoustic® technology is demonstrated at High-Speed-Rail (HSR). The system is successfully in operation on a 90 km double-track stretch of the TCDD Konya High-Speed line, since 2018. Now, the installation and commissioning of the system continue for an 11 tunnel slab-track part (37 km) of the Sivas High-Speed line, to be integrated into the Siemens-provided CTC system.

It is a proven, supportive, safety “enhancement” tool that does not need a SIL Certification in the short term, since it is not a component of mainline signalling but rather a very critical safety improvement for monitoring the RAIL and TRACK CONDITION. It solves a very critical issue in the railway industry with its methodology patented in the US, EU, China, Japan, India & Turkey, and has a great technical potential in the global rail industry subject to potential collaboration opportunities in different territories with diverse market needs. It has train monitoring abilities, which railway operators can benefit a lot. It is a result of 10 years-long research and development efforts that had been put in operation after extensive acceptance tests during the trial and commissioning phases of the client.

The technology is unique and does not have any reasonable solution alternatives around the world offering a complete and stand-alone solution for high-speed railway lines, modernized conventional lines, and metro lines especially with continuously welded rails and limited ballast rock contact at the rail bottoms.

Actually, as per the new approach with increased speed expectations in rail transport; it is obvious that a train should not be released to a line before being sure that especially the close segments of the tracks are safe for traffic. Only, then after "verifying the health status of rails and tracks", the interlocking and signalling come up to the fore, for a safe train presence monitoring and plotting of a route! 

RailAcoustic® detects defects such as complete rail breaks and partial rail cracks, as well as other abnormalities like ballast washouts, floods, and landslides 

The system 7/24 continuously senses:

  • Partial Cracks on the Rails
  • Complete Rail Breaks
  • Significant Internal Defects
  • Train Flat-Wheels
  • Train Movement (with precise Speed info)
  • Rail & Environmental Temperature
  • Floods
  • Landslides
  • Washouts
  • Buckled Rails
  • Derailed Cars (only for low-speed freight rolling stock)

The inventor and manufacturer of the system is Enekom, a technology company that is ready to be in collaboration with any parties, to enhance the safety of railways for protecting the assets and people.

Please contact for further information:

Esat Kepenekli – Contract and Commercial Manager

Cell: +90 - 537 609 6498 (WhatsApp)

Email: esatkepenekli (at) enekom.com.tr