Improving railway switch system reliability with innovative condition monitoring algorithms

Joseph Silmon, Clive Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)


INNOTRACK is a project funded under the European Commission Sixth Framework research programme. The project aims to develop approaches capable of achieving a 30 per cent reduction in track life-cycle costs (LCCs). As part of a cost consolidation exercise within the project, it was identified that switch and crossing maintenance and inspections account for around 19 per cent of the total maintenance costs. Improved condition monitoring can be used as part of a condition-based maintenance regime, which saves money over traditional periodic maintenance. This paper presents a novel algorithm that has been developed, which uses qualitative trend analysis (QTA) to detect and diagnose incipient faults in switches, which have been difficult to detect using current commercial methods. The algorithm is demonstrated using fault simulation data collected from DC electric switch actuators of a type widespread in the UK. The increased fault diagnosis capability has the potential to contribute significantly towards the achievement of the 30 per cent reduction in track LCCs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-302
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part F Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • qualitative trend analysis
  • fault diagnosis
  • condition monitoring
  • railway switch actuator
  • incipient


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