Queensland Rail - System Monitoring and Reliability Tools (SMARTS)

Queensland Rail

System Monitoring and Reliability Tools (SMARTS)

The Queensland Rail (QR) SMARTS Project is a proof of concept project the encompasses the design, procurement, installation, testing, commissioning, trialling and maintenance of several concept technology solutions designed to monitor and protect QR rail assets including Rail and Temperature Monitoring (RATS), Level Crossing CCTV System, and Bridge Impact Protection System (BIPS). VRT Systems in partnership with ARCS, iMonitor Solutions & QR, have been exploring the application of 3D Visualisation to develop concepts around this "Smart Railway".

Solution Elements

Rail & Ambient Temperature System (RATS)

Climatic temperature variations produce rail distortions which occasionally exceed safe limits for normal train operations. QR sought a system of rail and air temperature monitors which would permit real-time temperature monitoring at selected sites across the passenger rail network and provide remote alarming to mobile clients, improving localisation of speed restrictions thereby reducing delays to normal passenger services.

Level Crossing (Lx CCTV)

QR identified a need for CCTV monitoring at level crossings to capture video images of traffic movements and collisions involving trains at level crossings. Video images needed to be of sufficient evidentiary quality to enable positive and accurate road vehicle identification. CCTV images of the level crossing will be recorded 24 hours per day and under all environmental conditions expected to be experienced at the site.

Bridge Impact Protection System (BIPS)

Bridge strikes by over-height motor vehicles attempting to pass under low rail bridges present a significant and frequent risk to rail operations. Before investigating a reported bridge strike, QR ’s standard practice is to impose a rail speed restriction or stoppage as soon as an incident is reported. Delays in attending the site to assess the risk result in delays to rail traffic.

ARCS designed a system that seeks to reduce the incidence of bridge strikes and provide instant alarming and remote damage assessment when one does occur.

The system comprises the following:

  • Laser detection of overheight vehicles on a bridge approach road
  • CCTV images of the bridge recorded continuously and remotely accessible
  • Impact detection through sensors attached to the bridge
  • Remote alarms and bridge strike force indications
  • Visual warning to drivers through high visibility LED signs and lamps on the bridge

The BIPS uses a camera and recording arrangement identical to the Level Crossing CCTV system and permits remote access in the same way.


  • Whole-of-network object model: All of the system sites and sensor information is stored within a MVX Object Server with support for unlimited sensors along the network.
  • Email alerting: Automated system for alerting key staff to important information such as over temperature warnings and bridge impacts.
  • Mobile, Tablet, Web UI: Platform independent user interface designed to give an overview of the rail network with pins to indicate sensor station location and status. Drill down information is provided for each station including;
    • Alarm notification,
    • Current ambient and rail temperatures for RATS as well as daily minimums and maximums,
    • BIPS last impact records as well as over-height readings and accelerometer maximums,
    • Sensor details and Site photos.
  • Bureau of Meteorology (Rainfall radar) Interface: BOM radar screens overlay the rail network map to provide real-time rainfall readings.

Solutions used