GNSS can contribute to rail asset management as was demonstrated by the SIA project (System for vehicle- infrastructure Interaction Assets health status monitoring) presented by Wolfgang Zottl of ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG. The initiative is developing four ready-to-use services to provide information about the health status of four of rail’s most demanding assets in terms of maintenance: the wheels, the rails, the overhead pantograph and catenary (power wires). These new services could help to substantially reduce overall railway maintenance costs, unscheduled maintenance and derailments. Location and positioning are important data components for the system.
All four services have some common features being web-based applications using real-time information to make the ‘health assessments’ and able to integrate with current and future operational systems. “Full testing will commence in June this year,” said Zottl. “And will be based on the use of low-cost sensors to provide a cheap system that could be used on all trains.”