Digital image analysis technique for measuring railway track defects and ballast gradation

Clara Celauro, Marco Guerrieri, Marco Guerrieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


In order to guarantee safety and driving comfort and to maintain an efficient railway infrastructure, the first step is to carefully monitor the track geometry and wear level of the materials constituting the superstructure. To that end diagnostic trains are widely used on main lines, in that they can detect several geometric track parameters and rail wear, but under no circumstances they can yet detect ballast gradation. Due to the practical implications for the planning of maintenance operations on the railway network, this article presents a âDIPâ digital image processing technique for measuring the transverse profile and corrugations of the rails as well as ballast gradation. The research was carried out in the laboratory on samples of worn-out rails taken from operational railway lines and in situ in the case of ballast analyses. For the latter, the reliability of the results obtained was assessed by comparison with available results yielded by traditional testing methods. It is shown that the proposed technique can be used not only for laboratory analyses, but most conveniently for high-efficiency in situ surveys, along with the methods traditionally adopted by the railway managing authorities thus contributing to lowering the maintenance cost associated with rail inspection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-147
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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