Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) unveiled its newest Rail Inspection Vehicle (RIV). The RIV will enhance rider experience by enabling a smoother ride, improving the system’s reliability and cutting costs. The vehicle has highly advanced track inspection capabilities that will transform BART’s rail operations, helping to facilitate more efficient maintenance, as well as fewer system interruptions for repairs during normal service hours.
The state-of-the-art vehicle, which was created for BART by MERMEC under Build America Buy America Act requirements, identifies potential problems along the track with very high accuracy and without obstructing regular railroad operations.
One of only two current such vehicles in the U.S., the RIV utilizes hi-tech lasers, sensors, cameras, measuring systems and data management systems to create a comprehensive profile of the track, all while traveling at speeds of up to 70 mph. The RIV can measure the track’s position, curvature, smoothness and alignment, as well as wear and corrugation, which contribute to train noise.
The RIV can also create 3D surface scans of the area around the track and capture hi-definition images that detect abnormalities in components such as concrete ties and fasteners, which hold the rail in place. The RIV can also identify potential issues by capturing video in both normal and low-light conditions, including in tunnels, as well as infrared thermal imagery. GPS, axle counters, and radio-frequency identification tags pinpoint the locations of problem areas.
The RIV measures 63 feet by 9.5 feet and weighs 110,000 pounds.