Kingpin Sensors for T3000e Railcars to Increase Safety 17/01/23

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Kingpin Sensors for T3000e Railcars to Increase Safety


In response to the European Railway Agency’s (ERA) most recent call on wagon keepers for greater rail safety measures beyond visual kingpin checks on freight railcars, GATX Rail Europe has answered the challenge and added a new telematics and sensors driven solution to its portfolio.

Just weeks ago, we provided new T3000e railcars, fully equipped with novel kingpin sensors. From now on, all newly built GATX T3000e cars will be by default fitted with the sensor, while older car models will be scheduled for a retrofitting soon.

We recognized this demand as central to railway incident prevention and greater safety in more extreme situations, such as cold or stormy weather conditions. Thus, the GATX kingpin safety solution provides a two-contact sensor system that verifies whether a hitch device is correctly locked and kingpin positioned correctly. Information about proper loading is showcased on a display located on both sides of the railcar as well as virtually on any mobile device via Bluetooth connection.

Three Kingpin Sensor States for additional safety

  • There is no trailer on the wagon / or trailer is not correctly loaded: X displayed
  • There is a trailer, correctly loaded: check mark displayed
  • There is a trailer loaded and unlocked for the unloading: upward pointing arrow displayed (indicating its ready for unloading). In this way, crane drivers don’t try to unload a trailer that is still locked to the wagon to prevent wagon lift that may lead to derailment.

Why is the GATX kingpin sensor solution the right fit for T3000e railcars?

Our sensors save time as they can be paired with any mobile device geared to check the status of the correct loading of a wagon in real-time and not post-factum, thus avoiding the need for further corrections and delays. Additionally, data can be displayed on a web portal where customers can set up alerts when a wagon leaves a geo-fenced area with a “wrong” loading status. Hubert Gołębiewski, IT Manager for Digitalization & Innovation at GATX Rail Europe, ensures greater safety and higher customer satisfaction with our latest railcar feature. “Already equipped with GPS sensors, a T3000e may carry two trailers at a time, thus exhibiting two hitches,” Hubert said. “Each hitch has a socket equipped with ATEX certified sensors. Data is displayed on two displays per hitch on each side of the railcar, offering a more thorough overview. The sensor‘s readings are transferred to the hub-like GPS, allowing our clients to remain conveniently connected via a Bluetooth. The solution can be easy adjusted or extended to individual needs and integrated with customer IT systems using standard interface ITSS. In all, we provide a comprehensive, easily accessible solution that adds a layer of safety to the current railcar kingpin visual inspections.”

Always open for improvement, we are currently collecting feedback on the operational usage for more enhancements of the sensor system, thus allowing for further automatization in the future.


Why introduce kingpin locking sensors?

Reliable wagon kingpin locking was identified by the ERA’s task forces as a key issue of discussion and keenly examined in the Joint-Network Secretary’s (JNS) Task Force’s latest proposed measures on railway incident prevention.

Via its Normal Procedure, European Railway Agency, the JNS aims to harmonize and guide a EU-wide series of actions regarding railway safety. Within its different task forces and highly specialized panels, pressing issues are examined and possible solutions are often offered. GATX experts take part in these committees and, when it touches an area of our expertise, our teams come up with solutions to improve railcar safety.

If you would like to learn about our latest innovative developments, continue following our blog.