Remote condition monitoring for Southeastern Networkers

Alstom is to provide remote condition monitoring technology for 93 electric trains in south-east England.

Rolling stock company Angel Trains and train operator Southeastern have awarded Alstom a contract for the design, supply and installation of a Traintracer remote condition monitoring system for 93 Networker electric multiple units, built in the 1990s.

To improve the reliability of train services, maintainers need live fault data from their trains. However it is often discovered that data can only be downloaded when the train returns to the maintenance depot. By fitting the condition monitoring system with GPS location tracking to each train, fault data can be processed and transmitted while the train is in service. For example, at the maintenance depot, Southeastern’s fleet engineers will be able to use the system to analyse fault data, to identify maintenance actions and failure trends. In the event of a failure, the fleet engineer can connect to a train to assist the driver.

The Alstom team based in the traction systems, parts and logistics site in Preston, Lancashire, will equip three trains for trial operation by November 2010, with full fleet installation starting in January 2011. Additionally, the project includes an annual service contract until 2014, providing a helpdesk, data centre and support for the analysis and reporting system.

Paul Robinson, managing director of Alstom Transport UK and Ireland, said: "Designed with maintainers in mind, Traintracer provides an effective means to obtain and analyse performance data from trains in real time and help drive up train reliability. Traintracer technology will bring significant benefits to Southeastern’s operations."

Alstom’s Traintracer technology is already used on a total of 268 trains with various UK operators. The system connects into the Train Control & Management System (TCMS) and Traction Control racks of modern trains, and uses a networked data capture system to capture data channels from vehicle control wires, sensors and transducers on older trains; train location is determined by an onboard GPS receiver.

Wireless 3G communications are used to send train location, faults and data channels continuously from the train to the off-train data analysis and reporting system, from which maintenance engineers can analyse the train data to identify maintenance actions and reliability improvements.

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