TÜV SÜD Rail: With QuantumX on the tracks of the Glacier Express

Like journeys on the Orient Express or the Trans-Siberian Railway, traveling on the Bernina and Glacier Express is one of the dreams of railway lovers around the world. This dream be-came a reality for the TÜV SÜD Rail inspectors in the summer of 2008. On behalf of the Rhae-tian Railway, they carried out tests along the rail operator's railway network at a height of 1000 meters above sea level on their flat transporter wagons. The universal data acquisition tool QuantumX from HBM naturally had to be involved.

The Rhaetian Railway operates in the Swiss Canton of Graubünden; in addition to various regional routes, it also has a route with car transporter trains that has been in operation all year around through the 20 kilometer long Vereina tunnel since 1999. The safety of the transported passengers and vehicles is of course top priority - and this was checked in May and June of 2008 by the TÜV SÜD Rail experts. The main emphasis of the comprehensive measurements was the determination of load collectives during operation.

The TÜV SÜD Rail brings safety back on track…

The TÜV SÜD Rail has been offering its services to the railway industry across Europe for several years now. One focus is on tests and measurements on railway trains and their components under various conditions: On the test bench, measurement runs or even during scheduled operation. HBM supports this renowned test institute with tools for the measurement, processing and evaluation of physical measured quantities.

… with QuantumX in its luggage.

Due to the complex requirements regarding measurement technology, the TÜV SÜD Rail used QuantumX in all areas for the testing of the Rhaetian Railway flat car transporters. Because the universal data acquisition tool developed by HBM enabled precise measurements even under these difficult conditions typical for measuring trains: The dimensions of the transporter and the operating conditions (e.g. loaded with vehicles) offered hardly any space for the installation of the measurement equipment. The transporter wagon being measured was located in the middle of the train, while the measurement personnel could only take up position in the control cab at the end of the train. Approx. 100 channels, 1200 Hz sampling rate and measurement durations of 20-30 minutes also provided a high data flow of over 500 MB data per measurement.

Under these conditions, measurements with previously used measurement technology was not possible. The relatively large amplifier technology would have necessitated installation in the control cab. This would have meant long cable lengths with complicated cable routing.

Instead of this, an A/D conversion was aimed for directly at the measurement object with transmis-sion of digitalized data - a significantly easier solution and less prone to errors. For this reason, a universally applicable and flexible system was sought which, in addition to A/D conversion, could also take over the supply to the sensors and filter signals - all of this with a size that made installation of the equipment under a flat car transporter possible. The solution was called QuantumX.

"QuantumX makes measurements possible in the first place!"

The QuantumX measuring amplifiers were positioned under the vehicle at various locations.

The QuantumX modules were directly coupled via a single cable for the power supply and time syn-chronization. The measurement data of the modules were collected via a star-shaped Ethernet (TCP/IP) network and an appropriate Ethernet switch, then transmitted to the notebook in the meas-urement compartment at the end of the train. The installation of the sensors and the QuantumX measuring amplifiers took around 1 week - this also reduced the setup time by 40 percent. Measure-ments then took place over nearly four weeks in a measurement campaign: Every day a new train configuration, every day several different loading conditions.

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