Federal Track Safety Standards require daily measurements of car body and truck accelerations on trains operating at speeds above 125-MPH. In compliance with this requirement, twelve high-speed Acela coaches, operating in the Northeast Corridor between Boston, MA, and Washington DC, have been equipped with remote monitoring systems. The systems provide continuous measurement of car body and truck motions, detect various acceleration events, tag them with GPS time and location information, and deliver the data to Central Processing Stations through wireless communications channels. The Central Processing Stations installed at the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) and ENSCO, Inc., headquarters provide email and pager notifications to designated Amtrak officers and also make the data available to them over secure Intranet and Internet connections. The overall architecture has multiple levels of protection and redundancy in order to ensure high reliability and availability of the service. The systems have been in continuous operation for over a year and provided a multitude of valuable information. Examples of system-reported acceleration events include events caused by track irregularities and train handling. The paper also describes some of the real-life operational scenarios and situations that arise when autonomous remote monitoring systems are used, including wireless communications coverage issues, GPS location pitfalls, and maintenance issues.

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