Rail News

September 22 , 2022

Japan railway firm's app will measure train vibrations to inspect tracks

The Mainichi
September 22, 2022 (Osaka, Honshu,  Japan)

West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) is developing a smartphone app to efficiently inspect rail tracks by measuring the vibrations of running trains, the firm announced on Sept. 15.

The program can apparently be introduced easily while curbing costs as the operator only needs to affix a smartphone inside a carriage for the app to determine where the train shakes. The company is aiming to put the system into practical use around April 2023, and is also planning to sell the app to other train operators.

According to JR West, the app uses GPS and an acceleration sensor to detect movement and inclination, and can measure and record vibrations while the train is running. GPS can locate spots where the train shook, making rail track inspections more efficient.

Some trains already have sensors to detect severe vibrations, but these cost several million yen (tens of thousands of dollars) per carriage. After the new system is put into practical use, it will only cost the price of a smartphone and the app's usage fee, allowing railway companies to drastically curb expenses.

A representative at JR West commented, "Workers have been walking along train tracks to visually inspect them, so there has been a risk of accidents. Using this app will help keep workers safe."

(Japanese original by Kohei Shimizu, Osaka City News Department)


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