Like many rail companies, the Long Island Rail Road’s aim is to always improve the safety and reliability of their passenger service through the Autumn months. Wheel slip and emergency braking was forcing them to take much needed equipment out of service for repairs.
It was vital to address traction issues that cause poor acceleration, braking and maintenance. In 2018, we demonstrated successful rail cleaning, delivering three times higher adhesion after one pass of the laser at 12mph against a target of 9mph.
This convinced LIRR to commission us to produce an operational prototype, capable of working from a non-passenger train at 25mph. Deployed for 12 hours a day in Autumn 2019 over extensive parts of the LIRR network prone to low adhesion. A reliability of 99 per cent was achieved.
First, a cleaned piece of track was measured by a tribometer, showing an average CoF level of 0.34. It was made slippery by crushing leaves and applying water then measured again. An average 0.18 CoF level was measured. Then one cleaning run with the LaserTrain and measured again, this time with an average CoF level of 0.37, which is considered optimal traction on the railhead for driving.
CoF Levels Graph
Compared with 2018, LIRR reported:
reduction in low adhesion events on the whole network
reduction on the lines where LaserTrain operated
fewer cancellations (due to fewer units awaiting wheel flat repairs)
fewer late trains due to “weather”
fewer short trains (due to fewer units awaiting wheel flat repairs)