Investment Portal of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation

Railway embankments in the Arctic to be monitored by seismic sensors

The Federal Research Centre for the Comprehensive Study of the Arctic, run by the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has developed an innovative method for the automated monitoring of railroad embankments using seismic sensors.

9 December 2022

This technology makes it possible to detect ground subsidence under railroad tracks at an early stage, preventing bed deformation and potential accidents. The Canadian Geotechnical Journal has published an article summarising the results of the study, says Alexander Stotsky, General Director of the Project Office for Arctic Development.

The project's practical part was carried out in Arctic conditions on a number of sections of the Northern Railway in the Arkhangelsk Region's Onezhsky District. Both stable and weakened sites were selected for the research for representativeness. The three-component broadband sensors mounted at the base of the embankment made it possible to see the so-called relaxation (i.e., the reduction in strength characteristics) of the soil after the passage of trains.

The method proposed by Russian scientists has both theoretical and applied value. It allows for the timely identification of weakened areas along the railroad bed and their localisation. This, in turn, gives railroad operators reasons to take the necessary measures to inspect the tracks and reinforce them where necessary. The new method is especially relevant for the Arctic with its widespread peat bogs and permafrost, which have a direct impact on the stability of railroad tracks.


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