How Inclinometers Keep High Speed Trains Upright

How Inclinometers Keep High Speed Trains Upright

High-speed trains connect millions of people to far destinations with convenience and efficiency. Even though it may feel like the train is constantly traveling in a straight line, it isn’t. With precise technology, high-speed trains can take necessary turns without reducing speed, throwing passengers around, or tipping over.

What happens as a train turns?

When an object in motion changes direction, something has to compensate for the centripetal force that pulls it laterally. Race tracks are built with high banking to help cars overcome the centripetal force and stay on the track. This same effect is applied to train tracks so that a train can maintain its speed during a turn.

Tilted Rail Tracks

Without a tilted track, the lateral force would push passengers into a wall at every turn. Based on the speed of the train and the angle of the curve, one side of the track is raised to a certain degree to stabilize the train. When laying the track, high precision sensors, such as an LSOX, are utilized within rail maintenance of way equipment to measure the tilt of the track in order to best serve the train and its passengers.

How is turbulence detected in tracks?

When a set of tracks needs to be level, rail maintenance of way equipment can detect very slight unevenness. To pick up these minuscule imperfections, sensors like the LSOX, which has a 1 µradian resolution, can identify how much bumpiness there is and where it is found. Based on the feedback from the sensor, engineers can make important adjustments to the track. This creates a comfortable and safe ride before the train even hits the rails.

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