You might probably laugh when someone says that the weather has a potential to make train travel a difficult task. Well, sometimes it is dangerous to operate the trains too! Only those who experience extreme climatic conditions will know that services can come to a grinding halt due to the weather. If you think that it is only the snowfall, landslides and heavy rains that can result in such difficulties, then you need to know that tree leaves on the tracks are also a reason.
There are several methods to remove leaves from train tracks but an Amsterdam-based startup has devised a method to help Long Island Rail Road Company (LIRR), a New York rail operator to get rid of this problem. The talk is about Laser Precision Solutions BV (LPS) based in the Netherlands.
LaserTrain and TriboMeter
Laser Precision Solutions BV, founded in 2016 by Harm Medendorp and Tim Berrier have developed a laser technology called LaserTrain system to remove dirt and slippery top layer from the rails. The laser is positioned under the train and pulses the unwanted mulch clean off the tracks. So, LPS harnesses the power of electromagnetic radiation to remove the leaves.
The startup uses TriboMeter, which is a technology that maps the available traction in a network and provides real-time data. The data is used to optimize the braking, acceleration and energy schemes.
The actual challenge!
The challenge comes in the form of the oil that is left on the track by the leaves. The problem of leaves on train tracks occurs mainly in the fall but the aftereffects will leave the rails slippery due to the presence of oil, grease, rust, and water. This can be spread across hundreds of meters and damages the wheels making the train travel risky.
It’s quite safe
LaserTrain system from LPS will help the trains ply as usual even in the leaf-affected areas. It is possible as the service is safe. The service enables the trains to come to a stop in a controlled way even during extreme climates. Moreover, the company claims that using a laser, the process is done in an eco-friendly and energy efficient manner.
Testing in New York
In New York, the problem is severe in autumn due to the leaves on the rails. Back in autumn 2017, LIRR had to repair 3390 square wheels. And, this made several trains unavailable for days together. The rail operator LIRR had opted for several other measures to eradicate the issue of slippery tracks including cutting along the track and smoothness training for staff.
But this autumn, LPS, the Dutch startup will test a laser train on the track in New York. Initially, this testing will happen in the problematic areas. As of now, there is no word if the testing of the laser system will be made in the Netherlands or not.
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