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Railway monitoring system using optical fiber grating accelerometers
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Optimal operation, reduced energy consumption, longer service availability, and high safety level are the major concerns in today's railway transport systems. Smart monitoring systems should address these issues without interrupting railway operability. Many successful works have been carried out to provide railway monitoring functions using fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors on rail. Most of them are based on strain measurement due to the train passage. This paper presents a highly sensitive means for railway monitoring based on vibration measurement. FBG accelerometers placed on sleeper have been employed as sensor heads, which significantly facilitated the field sensor installation work compared to the positioning on the foot of the rail. An optimized signal demodulation algorithm has been effectively used to extract from the accelerometer traces both the axle number and the average speed information. Excellent capability of the developed system to obtain both parameters has been demonstrated by the way of field trials carried out on a Belgian railway line, during its normal operation. Easy installation, multi-function diagnosis, good data integrity, and compatibility with fiber optic sensors make the proposed sensor a good candidate for railway monitoring applications.