RailCorp recently signed a $21.2 million contract for the manufacture of two new mechanized track patrol vehicles to monitor the CityRail network. RailCorp chief executive Rob Mason said the new vehicles will substantially improve efficiency of track inspections.
"RailCorp currently has two special rail vehicles-to inspect the tracks. However, these machines have limitations in the types and amount of data they can collect and analyse resulting in a continued reliance on foot patrols." Mason said.
"These patrols have traditionally been carried out by staff walking each section of track and inspecting the area. Foot patrols like this are time consuming, labour intensive and can expose workers to safety risks.
"These foot patrols also require disruptions to timetabled services as trains are slowed or diverted to alternative tracks for rail workers' safety."
Mason said the new vehicles are fitted with high-resolution image capturing systems to video the track while simultaneously taking key track measurements.
"Instead of walking each section of track, staff can view the recordings and data from the track inspection vehicle or a dedicated viewing facility" he said.
"Once adopted, it is estimated that mechanised track patrol would save about 73,000 man hours each year currently undertaken on track foot patrols. This amounts to a considerable saving in costs, reduction in planned disruptions to passengers and improvements for track worker safety."
The first of the two new vehicles under the contract with Italian firm Mermec Group will be operational on the City-Rail network in the first half of 2013.