First Look: BART’s MERMEC Geometry Car in ActionWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor, Railway Age
San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) District on May 3 unveiled its newly acquired rail inspection vehicle from MERMEC that will measure track position, curvature, smoothness, and alignment, as well as wear and corrugation, which contribute to train noise.
The $10 million vehicle will help to “facilitate more efficient maintenance as well as fewer system interruptions for repairs during normal service hours,” reported BART, which held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its Daly City Yard.
Developed over the past the past nine years by MERMEC, an Angel Company, under Build America Buy America Act requirements, the vehicle uses 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, according to BART. Among its capabilities, the vehicle can 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.
According to the transit agency, the vehicle can capture video in both normal and low-light conditions, including in tunnels, as well as infrared thermal imagery. GPS, axle counters and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags pinpoint problem-area locations. The vehicle measures 63 feet by 9.5 feet and weighs 110,000 pounds.