Smart Telematics Enabling Efficient Rail Transport

Smart Telematics Enabling Efficient Rail Transport – Development of the ViWaS Research and Development Project

Single wagonload (SWL) transport is a major component in European rail transport systems and in the logistics of different industrial sectors such as steel, chemical and automotive. However, changing framework conditions and increasingly demanding market requirements have led to dramatic losses of market share and even to complete shutdown of SWL business in some countries. As this business segment has been evaluated as an important component of the European co-modal transport system also in the future, significant improvements are needed. The ViWaS project develops and proposes solutions which contribute to a raised competitiveness of SWL in Europe.

Unlike in road transport, load tracking and tracing is still not widely used in SWL. ViWaS seeks to accelerate the introduction of communication technology in rail freight. With on-board communication technology freight operators improve the dispatching of wagons and the rescheduling processes in case of disturbances. Based on reliable on-line telematics data, the dispatchers will be able to inform their customers about changes in the transport schedule earlier than today, increasing the reliability and satisfying the stakeholders.

Cost-efficient and intelligent telematics-based information services enable real-time wagon tracking and automatically depict wagon mileage information. The telematics data service will generate the required information which is necessary for a reliable quality recording. With this additional information, the current life cycle of freight wagons of six years will be optimised. Since the accident of Viareggio, the railway authorities are requesting documentation of wagon mileage. A small electronic mile-counter with a-radio link to the telematics device RodoTAG® overtakes the RU’s responsibility of wheel-set individual mileage counting. Based on long term experiences with NavMaster telematics, Eureka defined a list of requirements for the system design “small, lightweight and cost reducing”, resulting in a completely new system concept: The ViWaS telematics PCB is very small sized and equipped with a low power multi-GNSS (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS and SBAS) circuit. With the new GSM and GPS modules, a significant cost reduction could be achieved, interfaces for complementing sensors as e.g. shock detection, digital/analogue inputs/outputs, etc. are integrated. In addition, based on the analysis of user requirements the development of a reliable load sensing technology for freight cars has been launched. This request is a result of the fact that today most of the freight cars in railway operation do not use the full load capacity as there is no existing cost-effective possibility to measure the load especially during the filling-up process e.g. in the area of bulk freight. If the wagon would be overloaded and afterwards moved by a train, all wheel sets have to be exchanged for a costly inspection in a workshop. Thus, the freight car will not be filled to its maximum payload resulting in reduced capacity and higher costs. In order to optimise the dispatching processes wagons will transmit their load status, enabling the dispatchers to re-dispatch the wagon in short time after unloading leading to shorter standstill times and higher wagon efficiency.

  • Source: Transportation Research Procedia
    Volume 14, 2016, Pages 4430–4439
    Transport Research Arena TRA2016

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