Southern Railway ropes in IIT-M for fracture detection system

Safety first:The objective is to put in place an automatic rail fracture detection system. -File PHoto  

With increasing number of rail fractures posing a threat to safety of train operations, the Southern Railway has roped in Indian Institute of Technology-Madras to develop a new mechanism to detect cracks on tracks.

As of now, there is no automatic system to help detect a fracture on rail track caused by extreme weather conditions or otherwise. The system mostly depends on engineers who use ultrasonic testing once in two months to check cracks. At times, engine drivers also inform of abnormal noise on the tracks while the train is in motion.

“Rail fractures indeed pose a threat to safety as there have been several derailments in the past. We are working with the IIT-M to improve upon the analogue ultrasonic testing system and develop a foolproof mechanism,” a senior railway official told The Hindu on Monday. The objective is to put in place an automatic rail fracture detection system. Simultaneous efforts are on in consultation with the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) to introduce broken rail warning system in Northern Railway as a pilot project, the official said.

Going by the latest data, Southern Railway has topped others in rail fractures. Quoting recommendations made in the disaster management plan, the official said increasing fracture toughness, ductility and corrosion-resistant properties of rails would help in reducing sudden cracks. A joint study involving railway and Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) engineers was on in this direction.

“In the fist phase, we plan to lay the specially designed rails along high-density routes by the end of this year. Longer and stronger rails are being manufactured in the Bhilai Steel Plant, while we hope to digitise the ultrasonic fracture detection system in association with the IIT-M,” he said.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 4:58:54 AM |

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