Train stalls are very expensive to a railroad and are often caused by problems outside the control of the locomotive, such as misaligned or malfunctioning track lubricators. The Track Condition Monitoring Report uses data captured from the Locomotive Control Computer's traction control system, along with positioning information, in order identify areas of track where sub-par adhesion conditions exist. The system does not utilize additional sensors but rather, monitors the performance of the wheel rail interface when adhesion conditions are limiting the performance of the locomotive. This system can analyze track conditions in either Power or Dynamic Brake. The Locomotive Control Computer knows the throttle position, tractive effort, wheel diameter, force and wheel slip/slide occurrences. The FIRE system knows the fuel level and GPS location.
The track condition data is buffered onboard the locomotive and then downloaded via the Locomotive Management System for storage, analysis and presentation to the customer. Calculations will be made using this data, combined with the locomotive weight and fuel weight, in order to provide the most accurate analysis for the report. Back-office systems can further enhance the data logged by combining data from various locomotives and including the effects of local weather conditions. These systems can be adjusted as required to filter and further refine the information based on experience.