Intelligent Systems

Rail Stress Module/StressNet Solution™

The extensive use of continuous welded rail (CWR) has improved overall rail system performance. While this has solved many rail structural concerns, a major problem still prevails: how to proactively detect high compressive and tensile forces in the rail to maintain safe operation.

It is a well-known fact that high compressive forces can cause tracks to buckle and high tensile forces can result in accelerated rail defect growth, rail breaks, weld pull-aparts and problems with curve alignment retention. Typically rail is installed at a high stress-free temperature referred to as its neutral temperature (RNT). Over time, however, this RNT has been shown to decrease due to rail movement through the fasteners longitudinally, to curves moving radially, and due to rail breaks and rail defect repair.

This downward shift in RNT can result in excessively high compressive forces at elevated temperatures, which can result in track buckling and derailments or in crippling slow-order actions. Thus the effective management of high longitudinal forces is a key safety and productivity goal for the industry.

However, this goal’s achievement has been prohibitively limited by an inability to measure/determine rail longitudinal forces/RNT accurately and effectively. So how can rail operators effectively manage longitudinal force when it can’t be measured?

Solution: Salient Systems has developed its current generation of the Rail Stress Module (RSM)/StressNet™ system. This is the only breakthrough technology of its kind that serves as a comprehensive track safety and maintenance tool and monitoring system.

The RSM/StressNet™ System: is a strategic network of proprietary Rail Stress Modules installed along the web of rail that routinely and continuously measure and record the rail's longitudinal stress, neutral temperature and rail temperature history.

The data is then uploaded for reporting, analysis and action by the StressNet™  Data Management System. Applications for RSM/StressNet™  system includes:

  • Continuous measurement of longitudinal force and RNT
  • Detection of rail breaks
  • Alerting on potential buckling hazards
  • Providing hot weather slow order requirements
  • More effective rail break/defect repair RNT readjustment management (including a “smart-plug” repair technology)
  • Monitoring rail joint condition

The RSM’s installation is a simple 20 minute procedure facilitated by a Salient Systems provided custom installation kit enabling a permanent epoxy bonding to the rail requiring no commercial power.

RSM/StressNet™ Data Acquisition: the power management of this current 5th generation RSM design allows for 10+ year useful life, and the ability to collect the data with a variety of intermediate devices, including:

  • Hand held reader carried by a track inspector
  • At speed end of train (EOT) device
  • At speed high rail inspection vehicle
  • Dedicated wayside (fencepost) reader

RSM/StressNet™ System Industry Benefits: the system offers a cost effective and simple way to continuously monitor and manage CWR thermal forces and RNT for enhanced CWR safety and performance. It is a proven technology with both US and international field experience. It offers a “smart-system” approach to mitigating potentially damaging thermal forces by providing real time data on CWR neutral temperature behaviour.

Our Purpose

Improve the design and supply of products and services required to enhance the performance of rail networks