Poggi on Enhanced Rail Testing Services for Axle Counters

Pardon the pun, but full digitalization in both domestic and international rail and transit systems is picking up steam. Both domestically and internationally, rail and transit systems are rapidly moving toward full digitalization. Advances are occurring in all aspects of the rail world, both domestically and internationally, from rolling stock, to control and signaling systems, to infrastructure. One of the most important innovations or adaptations is the widespread deployment of axle counters.

On Track For Safety:

  • Safety is the single most common reason for the use for axle counters. A form of block signaling, axle counter systems detect track vacancies and do not permit two trains to be within the same section of track (block) at the same time.
  • Axle counters are also used to switch on and switch off warning equipment at grade crossings. This is achieved by closing the crossing to pedestrians and motor vehicles when a train is detected, and allowing the crossing  to open when the train has passed.
  • Unlike traditional track circuits, axle counters do not require installation of insulated rail joints. This is timesaving because it eliminates the need to break the continuity of long sections of welded rail for insertion of insulated joints.
  • Axle counters are particularly useful on electrified railways as they eliminate the need for traction bonding and impedance bonds. They also require no bonding and less cabling in comparison to track circuits, and they are generally less expensive to install and to maintain.

Concerns and Solutions: As is the case with any new technology placed on the property, concerns can arise. In this case the concern is that magnetic fields from rolling stock could cause Electro Magnetic Compatibility (EMC) issues with axle counters.

Test methodology has been developed to address this concern. Both ‘CLC/TS 50238-3: 2019 Part 3, Railway application, Compatibility between rolling stock and train detection systems, Compatibility with axle counters’ and also ‘EN-50592 Railway Applications, Testing of rolling stock for electromagnetic compatibility with axle counters’, set limits and define the test methodology to measure rolling stock’s electromagnetic compatibility with axle counters.

The Retlif Advantage: Retlif’s experienced field test engineers are equipped with the latest test instrumentation to address procedures set forth in both applicable standards. This represents a further enhancement of Retlif’s 40-plus year history of involvement in rail and transit engineering services that that are available to manufacturers and users of rail and transit equipment and systems.






Contact sales@retlif.com for further information and proposal requests.

-Walter A. Poggi, President, Retlif Testing Laboratories