“Switches & Crossings are one of our most critical, complex and troublesome infrastructure assets” – Network Rail*
Switches & Crossings (S&Cs) are used to guide trains from one track to another. They are one of the most troublesome asset classes, accounting for 20-30% of infrastructure related delays. During CP5, S&C failures on Network Rail infrastructure caused 24M delay minutes and amassed £364M in delay minute costs. Globally, £11B spent is spent annually on S&C maintenance and replacement.
SWIX to Predict & Prevent Switch Failures
SWIX is an end-to-end remote condition solution for predicting and preventing switch failure. The solution features sensor nodes placed at critical areas of the switch to dynamically characterise the switch component health and substructure condition each time rolling stock passes the site. The data is sent to a cloud service where it is analysed, stored and remotely viewed by Infrastructure Managers. The solution ultimately enables asset owners to predict failures and conduct preventative maintenance, offering a step change in the cost efficiency and reliability of S&Cs.Watch Video
Remote Switch Monitoring
The cloud-based dashboard provides remote access to real-time asset health data, 24/7, 365 days a year.
The route level view provides section managers with an overview of the health of all their assets, allowing them to instantly identify any existing or impending issues on their assets. This ensures the highest priority maintenance activities are conducted during engineering hours.
In depth Asset Health Data
Need to focus in on a particularly troublesome asset? The cloud enables Infrastructure Managers to remotely assess the condition of their most critical assets outside of engineering hours without having to conduct site visits. This reduces the time, cost and health & safety risks associated with maintaining the most critical assets on the network.
Predicting and Preventing Failures
SWIX combines historic and real-time asset health data to predict the track quality over the next 60 days. This provides Infrastructure Managers with sufficient forewarning of any impending issues, enabling them to plan preventative maintenance several weeks in advance.
Tamping and ballast renewals are highly disruptive and expensive activities, costing up to £5M/km. As a result of the costs involved and the limited opportunities to conduct tamping, it is essential that it’s carried out at the optimal time.
Through SWIX’s historic, real-time and predictive asset monitoring capabilities, Infrastructure Managers can identify the optimal time to tamp a site.
Post tamping, SWIX delivers the detailed data to validate successful tamping operations.
Is vertical displacement the same as voiding?
The vertical displacement of the track is formed of two parts; the airgap between the sleeper and ballast (void) and the displacement of the ballast substructure due to its spring stiffness. Quantifying the two sources which make up the vertical displacement is needed to identify the optimal intervention.
SWIX is the only solution that provides a quantified analysis of the displacement due to voiding and ballast substructure stiffness.
Where to monitor?
Although S&Cs can be over 100 metres long, 90% of S&C failures occur at the crossing nose and the toe of the switch. Therefore, a typical installation features two SWIX sensors, one at the toe of the switch, and another at the crossing nose. With devices installed at these locations, the Infrastructure Manager can monitor the most critical and troublesome components of the S&Cs.
The SWIX system can also be fitted at transition zones or on plain line.
Maintenance windows are short and working on track presents several Health & Safety risks so SWIX has specifically been designed to minimise time on site. The typical installation time is 10 minutes per S&C.
For concrete bearers and sleepers, SWIX features a proprietary adhesive mounting solution which does not require drilling so does not weaken the bearer or sleepers in critical areas.
An alternative mounting arrangement is available for timber sleepers and bearers.