March 21, 2014
Train Monitoring Systems Planned for Metro-North Railroad and LIRR
New Equipment Will Monitor Train Conditions to Ensure Safe Operations
Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road plan to install monitoring equipment designed to detect defective or overheated wheels and loads of freight trains that operate on publicly owned tracks and convey that information in real time to the railroads’ control centers.
“This specialized equipment will improve safety and reduce wear and tear on our tracks,” said Thomas F. Prendergast, Chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, parent agency of the two railroads. “They are intended to identify faults before they cause problems.”
The equipment, known as a Train Fault Detector System, consists of three components, a wheel impact detector that recognizes flat spots and other wheel defects, a “hot box” detector that assures that all the roller bearings around the axles are rolling properly and not overheating, and a tag reader that identifies individual freight cars.
Because of the complexity of implementing such a system, the railroads on Monday will ask the MTA Board to approve a type of procurement called a Request for Proposal rather than a simple low-bid contract, where price is the sole determining factor.
The railroads are seeking a vendor to design, manufacture, deliver and integrate these components to provide real time reporting to the railroads’ control centers.
Metro-North intends to install the instrumentation just east of Green’s Farms Station on the New Haven Line and just south of Scarborough on the Hudson Line.
Freight enters the Hudson Line from the south at Highbridge Yard in the Bronx and from the north at Poughkeepsie. Freight enters the New Haven line from the south at New Rochelle and from the north at New Haven. The Harlem Line does not carry any freight.
The LIRR’s system will be installed on the Main Line west of Bellerose Station. Freight trains, including New York and Atlantic Railroad and CSX, enter LIRR tracks at Long Island City and Fresh Pond in Queens and at Bay Ridge in Brooklyn.
These installations are in addition to fault detection improvements on CSX property that were agreed to by CSX last August following a freight derailment at Spuyten Duyvil last summer.
On the track that joins the Hudson Line, just southeast of Selkirk, CSX is installing a wheel impact detector that will measure the weight on each wheel and detect wheel defects, such as flat spots, on every wheel on every car of every train. The system automatically will send a report to Metro-North’s Operations Control Center including any overweight cars or uneven load.
In the Bronx, just north of the Harlem River Yard on the Oak Point line, CSX is installing a “weigh in motion” system that will measure and transmit information so that Metro-North can audit compliance with weight limits.
The new installations are in addition to Metro-North’s existing wheel impact detector in the Park Avenue Tunnel and the hot box detector just south of Poughkeepsie, both in place for years.