A growing method for evaluation of track conditions is to use autonomous measurement systems. This allows for "train path free" measurement, meaning that a standard revenue vehicle is used to obtain the measurement. This is greatly preferred to using a non-revenue vehicle which consumes track time.
Additionally it has the added advantage of utilising the vehicle weight to fully load the track during measurement. Lastly, the continuous monitoring and real-time reporting of critical conditions can allow for reduced manned track inspections by hi-rail.
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