Recently concluded after 37 months of activity is the Assets4Rail project – funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation and in which FS, RFI and Trenitalia have taken part within an international consortium led by EURECAT.

The project received a total EU contribution of 125,000 euro for the FS Group from a total project value of 4.7 million euro through the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking, a European Commission initiative and predecessor of the new Europe’s Rail partnership of which the Group is part.

The project aims to optimise methods for the inspection and monitoring of railway infrastructure and assets by:

  • Improving inspection, maintenance and monitoring, thus contributing to the efficiency and reliability of the railway infrastructure, particularly in terms of bridges and tunnels, and to the reduction of noise emissions;
  • Developing a dedicated information model (BIM) with integrated algorithms, utilised to collect and evaluate information provided by specific sensors from all segments of origin (onboard, wayside and remote), in order to correlate the various data and obtain an overview of the state of the railway system.

Assets4Rail thus took a dual approach, focusing on infrastructure (tunnels, bridges, track geometry and safety systems) and on rolling stock.

For the infrastructure component of the project, two types of inspection systems were adopted to monitor defects in the tunnel lining and the surface behind it, whilst sensors were utilised to monitor fatigue-related wear of the infrastructure, noise and vibration on bridges, along with track geometry.

For monitoring rolling stock, rather, came the installation of an automated ground and subframe imaging system for data collection to detect any defects in the infrastructure. The use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for monitoring the condition of rolling stock has also enabled the identification of trains and the association of faults identified in the rolling stock.

The project was successfully concluded with validation in an operational environment regarding the set of innovative technologies for bridge and tunnel monitoring, led by the FS Group and presented by our colleagues both at the project’s Final Event in Berlin and at the Shift2Rail Info Days in Brussels.

In addition to the funding received, Assets4Rail enabled the exchange and creation of knowledge within a heterogeneous international consortium of industrial companies, field-testing the combined utilisation of innovative technologies.