Rail Technology Ltd

The Company is a private limited company, and has four share holders. As a result of discussions held in the late nineties with Rail Track (now Network Rail), the need for condition monitoring of welded rails was identified, and it was decided to develop a range of products/applications based on totally enclosed strain gauge and temperature technology. The company linked up with the RWL Ltd who have pioneered strain gauges and temperature sensors. From this association Trackload and Axload were born.

After extensive trials Trackload received Network Rail product approval in December 2004 Ref PO5/01929. The equipment provides temperature and SFT readings on a continuous basis it also gives tensile and compressive stress readings. The system can be set to give four levels of alarm when rail forces reach pre-determined limits. Users can also have the option to retrieve data remotely on any modem connected PC. Rail Technology believes that by building up a database of rail information in strategic areas, particularly hot spots will improve the technical knowledge and understanding of the conditions that could lead to rail buckets.

The sensors have been fully tested, while inserted into a rail panel. The test involved 2 million cycles of simulated 25 ton axle load and the results proved that the fatigue life of the rail is not significantly influenced by the presence of the sensors, and the sensors themselves showed no sign of damage. Although the sensors were not put through a formal IP moisture resistance exercise they were subject to prolonged immersion under water in the rail, and sprayed with water for prolonged periods, and in both cases did not fail.

In September 2005 Network Rail commissioned Rail Technology Ltd to install a trial system, for the purpose of monitoring changes in Stress Free Temperature in Continuously Welded Rail (CWR) caused by mining subsidence affecting a track in South Yorkshire. Results during the trial showed a fall in SFT from 30.5°c in September 2005 to just 6°c in June 2006 and this change occurred at the point of maximum predicted subsidence. The rail was re-stressed after the final settlement had finished and the equipment demonstrated that the track recovered to the design SFT of 27°c. Using this equipment gave Network Rail engineers SFT data on the basis of which they could produce hot weather and remedial work plans for the site concerned.

The equipment used for these trials was “Trackload” supplied by Rail Technology Ltd, and it is quite unique in that the temperature and strain gauges used are totally encapsulated in a stainless steel housing, and then potted and hermetically sealed. The sensors are then inserted either side of a precision 8mm diameter hole, through the web of the rail and measure the core temperature and rail stress. Tests have been conclusive in showing that under certain conditions the surface temperature of the rail can vary 7 to 8 degrees C compared with the core temperature.

Since de-commissioning the South Yorkshire project, Rail Technology has been awarded another contract by Carillion Rail to install a Stress and Temperature monitoring system on the Leven Viaduct in Cumbria. The 150 year old Viaduct has been refurbished by Carillion under contract to Network Rail. The monitoring system will be operational from August 2006, for a number of years. The objective of the project is to monitor any occurrence of rail stress migration through a new fastening system, which may effect the stress in the rails.

Rail Technology are aiming to increase their links with the rail industry, developing systems to enhance rail stress monitoring for the benefit of rail engineers in the UK and Internationally.

For further information contact Rail Technology Ltd on:

For further information contact Rail Technology Ltd on:

Tel: +44(0) 1283 790012

Fax: +44(0) 1283 792371



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