This will be Europe's largest train identification system with passive RFID covering the whole of Finnish state rail network. Vilant will install 120 specialized RFID Reader Units, and integrate them into Liikennevirasto's detector network.
The new, highly reliable railway tracking system aims to improve safety and service of operations on Finnish railroads. It provides real-time monitoring of trains passing at all speeds, up to 250 km/h, and even in the most remote areas utilizing the GPRS network.
Liikennevirasto is responsible for the management, development and maintenance of the Finnish railway network. To ensure that traffic and safety needs are met, Liikennevirasto keeps track of the condition of the rolling stock on Finnish rails through a network of detectors installed along the track. Full exploitation of the data registered by the fault-detection system enables preventive maintenance for improved safety of railway operations. This can be achieved with RFID. For example, linking data accurately to an over-heated axle bearing (i.e. "hot axle boxes"), the wagon and the train it belongs to at the time it happens. Therefore, the faulty part can be replaced before it breaks.
Finland has 5,919 kilometers of railways in use, of which 3,067 kilometers are electrified lines. According to Liikennevirasto, EUR 135 million a year is spent on track maintenance. The railway network's maximum axle weight is 25 tons, most lines enabling 22,5 tons. The speed limit for passenger trains is 220 km/h and 120 km/h for freight trains. To take full advantage of the network of detectors already in place, a system is needed to link the registered data with the affected rolling stock. A standard based solution would also have to enable interoperability to allow information to be easily analyzed and shared with train operators who, in turn, would be able to locate wagons and perform preventive maintenance and repairs where needed.
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