Diagnostic and signalling system provider Mermec Group has won a contract from US rail operator Amtrak to install a complete catenary inspection system on a dedicated measuring coach.
Mermec will supply Amtrak with a non-contact catenary measuring and inspection system to check main catenary parameters, such as wire height, stagger and wear.
Mermec will also install a video surveillance system to detect any critical defects of overhead line structures.
The contract is part of Amtrak’s project to replace its old catenary inspection system with an automated solution to monitor the catenary on the high-speed Northeast Corridor (NEC) on the US East Coast.
The automated solution, to be installed on a dedicated coach, will measure the NEC’s catenary on a daily basis to increase network safety and availability.
Mermec’s catenary inspection solution is based on advanced laser triangulation and will be able to check wire parameters, detecting and measuring up to eight individual wires with the ability to discriminate between six wire types.
A total of eight cameras will be fitted to the system, of which four will be to measure wire wear and four will monitor geometry.
The configuration will allow the monitoring of a very wide field of view, of up to 4ft for stagger and ten feet for height, inspecting the entire catenary infrastructure, according to Mermec.
The system’s video surveillance capability can capture longitudinal images of the overhead line and store them together with the localisation parameters, enabling post-processing and analysis by an operator off-line.
Under the deal, the company will also provide a localisation system and other auxiliary systems.
Mermec said that its integrated solution will be able to operate at speeds up to 135mph even in tough environmental conditions such as rain, snow and fog.
The delivery and commissioning of all systems under the project is scheduled to take place in the first half of 2013.
Image: The new system will replace the previous catenary inspection system with an automated solution to monitor the catenary on the high-speed Northeast Corridor. Photo: courtesy of James G. Howes.