LIRR, Metro-North to install damage detecting monitors along tracks

By Philip Newman

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Friday that the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Commuter Railroad plan to install equipment capable of detecting and instantly reporting defects or damage or overheating in wheels and other equipment as well as those of freight trains using the same tracks.

“This specialized equipment will improve safety and reduce wear and tear on our tracks,” said MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast. “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 axles are rolling properly and not overheating and a tag reader that identifies individual freight cars, which in some areas, use the same tracks as the LIRR and Metro-North.

The railroads are seeking a vendor to design, manufacture, deliver and integrate these components to provide real time reporting to Metro-North and Long Island rail roads.

Freight cars enter the Hudson Line from the south at High Bridge Yard in the Bronx and from the north at Poughkeepsie. Freight cars enter the New Haven line from the south at New Rochelle and from the north at New Haven. The Harlem line carries no freight.

The new installations are in addition to Metro-North existing wheel impact detector in the Park Avenue tunnel and the hot box detector just south of Poughkeepsie, both in place for years.

The MTA gave no estimate on the cost or how long before completion of the project.

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