Monitoring the railway infrastructure: Detection of surface defects using wavelets

January 1, 2014 in

Conference Paper

Maria Molodova

Zili Li, Alfredo Núñez, Rolf Dollevoet


The 16th International IEEE Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITSC)
Year: 2013
Location: The Hague, The Netherlands

axle box acceleration, condition monitoring, squats

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For monitoring the conditions of railway infrastructures, axle box acceleration (ABA) measurements on board of trains is used. In this paper, the focus is on the early detection of short surface defects called squats. Different classes of squats are classified based on the response in the frequency domain of the ABA signal, using the wavelet power spectrum. For the investigated Dutch tracks, the power spectrum in the frequencies between 1060-1160Hz and around 300Hz indicate existence of a squat and also provide information of whether a squat is light, moderate or severe. The detection procedure is then validated relying on real-life measurements of ABA signals from measuring trains, and data of severity and location of squats obtained via a visual inspection of the tracks. Based on the real-life tests in the Netherlands, the hit rate of the system for light squats is higher than 78%, with a false alarm rate of 15%. In the case of severe squats the hit rate was 100% and zero false alarms.