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The largest model yoke of CBM Lab weighs at least 10 pounds and has both headlights and horn View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Model railroad in new LTU-lab

Published: 24 November 2013

Luleå University of Technology is building a new railway lab with mini train and rails for condition based maintenance, called CBM-Lab. You could say that it is an advanced form of model railway with locomotives that have engine sounds, horn and lights and a rail system that can be used for tests in both education and research.

Professor Jan Lundberg LTU
Professor Jan Lundberg, Luleå University of Technology

- Students will locate tracking errors with a measuring vehicle and can fix the errors, just like in real life and also in the research will CBM Lab be beneficial when we can test various models of switches and surfaces, considering shock, deformation, etc., said Jan Lundberg, Professor in operation and maintenance at Luleå University of Technology.

He has a background in research based on laboratory tests and experiments. The vision is to build a real laboratory where tests can be conducted to raise awareness, which is well under way in the CBM Lab.

- This is a kind of embryo of such a laboratory, and because we have so many projects related to railway technology so it was natural to build one, he says.

Michael Palo, PhD LTU
Michael Palo, PhD in operations and maintenance at Luleå University of Technology

The idea of buying a mini train for marketing purposes came from his graduate student Mikael Palo associated with an "open-house" day at LTU. Jan Lundberg has since hatched the idea to utilize the mini train for research and education. CBM Lab currently consists of model railway with locomotives and wagons that are very lifelike. An entire trainset of wagons can be linked and run across multiple switches along the line. A wagon with a measurement tool can be hung on the locomotives and loaded with weights that run along the track. As with information on the bumps in the track which can be read on a large monitor in the CBM Lab and it all becomes a tool for research and education. (CBM stands for Condition Based Monitoring).

Professor Jan Lundberg tells enthusiastic schoolchildren
Professor Jan Lundberg tells enthusiastic schoolchildren what model railroad is for.

CBM Lab will gradually be expanded to be as realistic as possible, for example, to scale ballast stone that can simulate different degrees of tilt on the railway system, with overhead and with a complete signaling system. On that basis, various simulated projects can be implemented using associated measuring equipment. For example, the problem of "malfunctioning wheels" is simulated (wheel deformed by heavy braking) as wintertime often damages rails and wheels and which sometimes cause derailments.

- It is super from a pedagogical point of view for the students here at the university and generally it's about learning to state control of the railroad and of course in general, what are the details along a rail, said Jan Lundberg, who also want to inspire a younger generation.

"It need to be bent in time what will become as crooked" is a motto which he gladly will highlight and when CBM Lab was unveiled on Friday so was also a secondary school class from Lulea invited. School children got their own demonstration and subsequently possible to ask questions. There was no mistaking about their interest. Many of the school children took the opportunity to be involved and try how different movements of a mini measuring station could be reflected in the form of wave motion on a large monitor in the lab.