Railroads around the world are trying to increase hauling capacity on an already over-burdened rail system. This results in increased rail maintenance, increased cost from slow orders and increased risk of track failures. However, monitoring rails for neutral temperature drift, rail buckling and rail breaks is becoming easier and more cost effective with improved sensor technology. One major improvement is the ability to monitor long stretches of rail by networking a series of sensors together. This results in complete track coverage for a reasonable cost. New sensor technology capable of transmitting data wirelessly over several miles of track is presented in this paper. The antenna configuration is a critical factor to achieve adequate signal strength within several inches of the ground. The research presented here shows that it is possible to use the rails themselves as waveguides to help guide wireless signals down the rails to the next sensor.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.