At present, the state of the elements of the Russian Railways infrastructure is checked by various diagnostic means: track-wagons, flaw detectors, and laboratory wagons. Such a solution does not provide a comprehensive assessment of the infrastructure. At the same time, joint planning of windows for various types of repairs, and modernization of roads is difficult. The heterogeneity of the data obtained by checking with existing diagnostic tools does not allow them to be compared for objective analysis, to identify “narrow” places in the content of paths, electrification devices and electricity supply. This, in turn, makes it difficult to rationally allocate funds for the current maintenance and repair in accordance with the technical state. Practical experience shows that a significant part of these problems was solved with the help of a new method for diagnosing railway tracks developed by specialists of our company, which is based on the spectral analysis of wheel noise, carried out with the help of computerized equipment installed in the cab of a conventional train. For a better understanding of the advantages of the new method of acoustic control of technical condition of paths, let us consider the features of existing equipment.

       Experimental diagnostic complexes “Era” and “Integral” are known, which, according to the developers, evaluate a set of infrastructure parameters, such as: the condition of the railway track, energy devices, automatics and telemechanics. In this case, the diagnostic complex Integral allows monitoring 118 parameters, Era 150. In the opinion of the developers, this should allow to create a database for planning repairs and organizing the current maintenance of the infrastructure. However, there are certain problems with the use of the above diagnostic equipment. The first problem is the disparity of the measured parameters. It is impossible to generalize hundreds of disparate characteristics obtained at different sections of the path into a single conclusion about the technical state that would take into account the entire volume of information. Therefore, the resulting “database” is a useless collection of raw information, for the deciphering of which would require considerable work. The second problem is the cumbersomeness and high cost of the equipment used, which does not allow it to be used simultaneously on all railway lines. In addition, at present, expensive laboratory cars are 80% morally and physically obsolete. As of the beginning of 2018, the average percentage of wear of diagnostic equipment (railroad cars, defectoscopes, defectoscopic and defectoscopic track-measuring automotics, defectoscopic and track-measuring trolleys) in Russian Railways is 67.7%, it will reach 84%. The aging of the diagnostic tools park of Russian Railways makes us think about the transition to low-maintenance autonomous track-measuring systems installed on the existing rolling stock (traction locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars). Full-scale implementation of this direction will allow to reduce the costs of diagnostics of the state of the roads by an order of magnitude. Among the constructive shortcomings of the existing means of technical control are the following:

       1. Moral and physical obsolescence of means of control, due to the lack of new methods based on new principles of obtaining and processing information;

       2. Dependence of the results of rail control on the level of competence of specialists and the influence of “human factors” due to the lack of automation of measurements and computer systems to make the right decision on the characteristics of defects.

       To overcome these problems, LLC “Bionetics” developed a universal computer program “Expert”, which allows fully automating the measurement process and processing the results. The operator does not need to make decisions. The program of the new device automatically performs the analysis and produces a conclusion in the form of text. One of the most promising areas of application of this development in JSC Russian Railways is the monitoring of railways, carried out directly from the train. To implement this method of measurement, it is necessary to place a computer with a microphone in the cab of the driver or in the compartment of the car. The computer program through the microphone “listens” to the noise of the wheels, automatically detects the deviations of the spectral characteristics from the norm, noting the problematic places on the investigated sections of the path. All measurements take place automatically at any speed (the system is self-tuning for specific traffic parameters). You can measure extended tracts. The operator is in a comfortable environment and may not follow the measurement process, which is carried out automatically and stored in the computer’s memory. Those. the computer performs the role of a recorder (analogous to the aviation “black box”), which registers the technical state of the path along which the train is traveling. The low cost of this equipment (where serial components are used) makes it possible to equip all recorders with such recorders, and to carry out regular monitoring of all routes in real time. As an option, this system can be equipped with a GPS (GLONASS) tracker – a compact device that uses satellite navigation to determine the coordinates of the train. All data on the technical condition of the track can be recorded in the computer memory for further decoding, or transmitted via satellite Internet to the Main Computer Center (GVC), where the problem areas of all roads can be displayed on the map in real time.




The most common method in Russian Railways is the method of ultrasonic testing 2 times a month in any weather (in winter pushing the cart knee-deep in the snow, or in the summer on uneven sleepers covered with waste products, discharged from the trains). The new method, developed in LLC “Bionetics”, allows you to monitor the technical condition of the tracks at great distances, in more comfortable conditions, directly from the train