The Challenges of Integrating Novel Wayside Rolling Stock Monitoring Technologies: A Case Study

The Challenges of Integrating Novel Wayside Rolling Stock Monitoring Technologies: A Case Study


Wayside condition monitoring of rolling stock is being adopted by many railroads around the world, particularly by freight and heavy haul. These technologies have progressed significantly over the last decade, enabling railroads to better target their maintenance resources at the worst performing vehicles with a goal to improve the long term efficiency and safety of their operations. For railroads seeking to implement new wayside monitoring technology, acquisition of the technology is often the simplest part. Subsequent integration of the information provided by new technology into the well-established maintenance practices of railroads can, however, be a significant challenge. Even with a strong business case supporting the repair or replacement of components that negatively impact the performance of a vehicle, the maintenance practices in place for decades at Class I railroads in North America may not yet be able to cater to the performance metrics provided by newer technologies. This paper will examine how two North American Class I railroads and a private heavy haul railroad have integrated the same novel wayside monitoring technology, in this case bogie geometry – tracking behaviour, into their maintenance practices. This paper examines by how much this integration has been achieved to date, the inherent challenges experienced by these three quite different railroad environments in doing so, and an analysis of the outcomes that have been realized through these initiatives. The paper concludes the analysis with recommendations for how the integration of this information may be furthered, with consideration of the discussed challenges that face each of the different railroad environments.


Paul Bladon, BEc, GDipArch
Wayside Inspection Devices Inc.

Kim Bowling, BEng(Mech), MBA
CSX Transportation

Hark Braren, B.S. AMM
BNSF Railway

Jean Deslauriers, BEng(Civil)
ArcelorMittal Infrastructure Canada Inc.

Denis D’Aoust, BEng(Elec)
Wayside Inspection Devices Inc.

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