The application of Laser technology for the top of the rail (TOR) lubricity detection is investigated. A laser-based sensor technology is proposed to detect, measure, and monitor the condition of the TOR lubricants. The optimum configuration of the laser sensor, suitable for effective lubricity measurements, is presented. In the proposed embodiment, the laser head is employed with its beam reflected off of the rail surface. Specular reflection of a lubricated rail is measured and compared with dry condition. A processing technique is developed based on the recorded reflection intensity dissimilarities to identify rail’s lubricity condition. A lubricated rail yields lower reflectivity value, as compared with a dry rail. The TOR detection system is mounted on a hand-operated cart for field testing. The field test results indicate that the proposed technique can successfully assess to what extent TOR lubricants are present on the rail, therefore serve to distinguish between various states of rail lubricity, from completely dry to completely saturated.

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