Intelligent Rail from Ricardo

Intelligent Rail from Ricardo
24 October 2016

Across the world, the rail sector is experiencing a rapid growth in the use of sophisticated digital data generation and analysis systems.

However, that fact is that the industry is struggling to extract the true potential of these new technologies.

Many IT-oriented suppliers, for example, are active in the market for “big data”, but lack the in-depth technological knowledge and understanding of the rail industry to produce tangible gains for the client.

Drawing on the strengths of our parent company in the automotive and aerospace spheres, Ricardo Rail’s Intelligent Rail suite of products and services offers bespoke analysis tools and methodologies designed squarely around the needs of the rail sector.

By adding domain-specific knowledge to the mix - in rolling stock, infrastructure, safety systems and asset management, for example - we can identify technical and operational root-causes much faster, and with more granularity, than standard analysis tools, enabling corrective and preventive actions to be implemented in a fraction of the conventional time.

Bespoke rail sector algorithms and business rules

Intelligent Rail applications are based on data flows obtained from a wide range of sources: existing or new; manually or automatically generated; single-sourced or combined with other inputs.

The data is stored in the cloud and is analysed automatically using algorithms and business rules that create dashboards designed to each client's specific issues and made available via the internet.

As all data from the input systems are processed in real time, Ricardo’s dashboards can cover current performance and predictive interventions as well as historical trends. And because various data sources can be combined, new insights and interpretations can be made that could never otherwise happen.

Additionally, as security (and in particular, cyber-security) is increasing concern for our customers, our platform has been developed according to the latest security standards.

Ricardo Rail’s Intelligent Rail suite of products and services consists of a wide range of standard and customised products, including:


A free-standing, scalable software tool which analyses the output from Train Control Management Systems and / or specific sensors mounted on key train systems by Ricardo Rail, to provide a comprehensive maintenance management system based on deep asset intelligence from our worldwide rail operations. For more information, see our SmartFleet page.


A free-standing system for the real-time monitoring of the infrastructure from service trains, giving low cost regular automated health checks for infra-managers, with GPS positioning through Ricardo Rail’s desktop dashboards allowing rapid identification and rectification of infrastructure defects. For more information, see our InfraMonitoring page.


An integrated Pantograph condition and uplift monitoring system, providing contactless measurements of key parameters, including uplift force and carbon wear, and alarm functionality to protect expensive overhead line assets from damage from faulty or damaged pantographs and carbons.

Following a successful trial and the award of Product Approval for use anywhere on the UK network, 12 PanMon systems are planned for installation on the West Coast Main Line in 2017, with other routes to follow.

For more information, see our PanMon page or the News story Pantograph Monitoring system approved by Network Rail.

Asset-specific monitoring

Our technologies can also support detailed time-series analysis of the condition and performance of key rolling stock assets, based on long experience of routine and innovative maintenance and renewal interventions; for example, the Wheel Load Monitoring application provides an integral approach to monitor the fleet’s safety with regards to wheel load deltas based on existing data acquisition methodology.