The two methods are intended to supplement each other and increase the amount of data available to Metro-North track engineers regarding adherence to federally mandated track parameters such as gage, curvature, height and overall alignment.
“Metro-North’s first task is to improve safety on the railroad by all means, including using the latest technology,” said Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti in a press release. “We want to know before normal wear and tear turns into a failure. Continuous monitoring of joints and the surface of the rails themselves will keep us on top of maintenance.”
The Autonomous Track Geometry Inspection System (ATGIS) equipment will be mounted on passenger trains moving at regular speeds. It will generate continuous data to allow Metro-North to identify track geometry anomalies early and prevent failures.
Metro-North plans to purchase four units, one for each major train equipment type: a diesel locomotive, a diesel-hauled coach, an M8 and an M7. The equipment will provide inspection coverage for all three lines and branches.
The ATGIS and track geometry car inspections address a Federal Railroad Administration recommendation that Metro-North make better use of available technology in its track inspection protocol. The railroad will continue to perform twice-weekly track inspections by qualified Inspectors who walk track and drive high-rail vehicles over the infrastructure to look for defects, Metro-North officials said.