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World’s first onboard train track monitoring system in Singapore

Six groups of sensors will be installed in tracks and trains of two of the busiest lines in the metro network

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From left: Professors Lee Kang-Kuen and Tam Hwa-Yaw and Dr Tan Chee Keong of SMRT
From left: Professors Lee Kang-Kuen and Tam Hwa-Yaw and Dr Tan Chee Keong of SMRT
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PolyU predicts this new “maintenance practice” will become a trend in the railway industry globally

Data collected during monitoring will be sent to PolyU in real-time for further analysis when needed

Singaporean metro operator SMRT Corporation is installing an optical fibre track monitoring system developed by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) on two of its busiest lines.

 

PolyU claims it is the first time sensors have been deployed in in-service trains to continuously monitor track conditions. The decision follows completion of a successful trial run in June and the university claims that by enabling the rapid identification and repair of faults it will lead to improved service reliability.

 

PolyU also predicts this new “maintenance practice” will become a trend in the railway industry globally as it is the most efficient mode of maintenance for two of the most mission-critical components for a railway and the best way to meet the ever-rising expectations for service reliability.

 

A total of six groups of sensors will be installed in tracks and trains of the East West Line and North South Line of SMRT which are the two busiest lines of Singapore’s metro network.

 

“SMRT is delighted to have PolyU’s advanced railway technology installed in our metro lines,” said Dr Tan Chee Keong, deputy director of SMRT, Singapore. “[We are] the first in the world to have adopted this preventive monitoring system, enabled by the cutting-edge railway technologies, pioneered by PolyU. I am sure this optical fibre sensing network installed in both the tracks and running trains will enhance the operation of our metro lines.”

 

The installation is expected to be completed early next year. PolyU will provide training to SMRT staff in operating the system, while the data collected during monitoring will also be sent to PolyU in real-time for further analysis when needed. PolyU will also provide maintenance and technical support to SMRT for a period of five years after the system is commissioned.

 

“This PolyU technology will help enhance the performance of metro systems through an advanced predictive monitoring and maintenance regime, which is now the best practice in the railway industry and a global trend,” said Tam Hwa-Yaw, chair professor of photonics and head of department of electrical engineering at PolyU.

 

“This also shows how an academic institution in Hong Kong can develop leading technology in the world through collaboration with the industry.”

 

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