Paul Bladon
VP Business Development, Wayside Inspection Devices Inc.
Speaking on 22 November, during the Wayside Train Monitoring Systems sessions

Paul Bladon
VP Business Development, Wayside Inspection Devices Inc.

Improving the Utilization of Bogie Performance Detectors in Canada

  • How has wayside condition monitoring, as an specialised industry, evolved over the last decade?
  • How were early Bogie Performance Detectors (BPD) used to evaluate bogies, and what were the challenges?
  • How do modern BPD evaluate the wheel-rail interface itself, and what have been the experiences in improving the utilisation of this information?


Over the last decade, the development and deployment of wayside bogie condition monitoring systems have facilitated significant progress for the safety and efficiency of railway operations. A variety of systems employing a range of non-contact technologies have been developed to focus on specific bogie components such as journal bearings, wheel profile, internal wheel defects, springs, brake blocks, wheel flats, internal axle defects, etc.

These systems that examine specific bogie components have greatly enhanced depot inspections made by railway personnel. Also, as the condition of the bogie component evaluated does not change with speed, most of these systems could be installed on low-speed track near depots. However, because of this design, these component-specific systems are unable to provide a holistic assessment of whether bogies are performing as intended; as this requires an optimized wheel-rail interface at all speeds.

The early Bogie Performance Detectors (BPD) attempted to provide an evaluation of a bogie by measuring the rail lateral forces and L/V in curves, at track speed. These early BPD encountered a number of inherent limitations. The modern optical-based BPD overcomes the limitations of the force-based systems by directly measuring the key parameters to evaluate the wheel-rail interface, specifically the wheelset Angle of Attack and Tracking Position, as well as the lateral dynamic stability (Hunting) of each bogie, to provide an accurate and holistic understanding.

Wheelsets or bogies that are not performing as intended reveal when the wheel-rail interface is fundamentally compromised. Beyond any single component, a sub-optimal wheel-rail interface is primarily responsible for accelerated wear regimes on both rolling stock and rail, resulting in higher maintenance costs, higher derailment risk, and higher rolling resistance.

This paper examines how BPD data is used to identify wheelsets and bogies that will experience accelerated/degenerative wheel wear early in the process, to break the cycle of repeated premature wheelset replacement, as well as repeated replacements of non-causal components. Advances in the identification of derailment-level risks is also discussed, by analysing recent experiences of three North American railways. This paper also examines how recent advances of BPD data analysis is improving the understanding of bogie geometry and bogie hunting, and how this is being applied to target specific wheel wear and specific failed bogie components and, just as importantly, address specific wear regimes on the rail infrastructure.

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We look forward to welcoming you in Naples between 22 – 24 November for the Intelligent Rail Summit. 

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