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Testbed Railway and Railway 4.0

Published: 22 June 2016

An infrastructure for test, development and implementation of Railway 4.0 - the Swedish Concept for Future Railway Research and Innovation

To achieve smooth implementation of new research and innovation, the railway stakeholders, e.g. infrastructure manager and railway industry, need to develop means for testing of new technology and innovative solutions.

To achieve this, the JVTC and the Div. of Operation and Maintenance Eng. at Luleå University of Technology have developed a framework called ‘Railway 4.0’, with a corresponding testbed called ‘Testbed Railway’.

The framework and the testbed aim to facilitate establishment of digitalised railway and enable enhance decision-making through big data analytics. The tools also provide capability to acquire asset-related data such as condition data, failure data, and reliability data, via a service-oriented and cloud-based approach.


Testbed Railway is a platform aimed for transparent and replicable testing of scientific theories, computational tools (such as Big Data Analytics) and new technology. The goal of the ' Testbed Railway ' is to strengthen the railway industry's adaptability and competitiveness by developing and providing a testbed for research and innovation in the rail industry, nationally and internationally.  The purpose of the ' Testbed Railway ' (Karim, 2016) is to enable that Sweden should be a leader in research and innovation in railway, which contributes to strengthening the industrial production of rail-related goods and services in Sweden. Testbed Railway is powered and hosted by eMaintenance LAB.

The testbed will facilitate continuous monitoring of railway infrastructure and rolling stock in real time using state of the art technology. The corridor which is equipped with state of the art measurement and communication technologies for measurement, monitoring and storage of data is critical for researchers at JVTC with strategic focus to develop maintenance models, tools and methodology to facilitate correct and timely decisions ensuring effective and efficient maintenance processes solutions.

Today, the testbed covers two main track-sections (around 5 000 km railway), i.e. Malmbanan and Haparandabanan. These two track-section are instrumented so that both infrastructure and the rolling stocks can be monitored online and in real-time. The data monitoring data is used for maintenance analytics (Karim et al., 2016), i.e. maintenance descriptive, maintenance diagnostics, maintenance prognostics, and maintenance prescriptive.

Railway 4.0 is the overarching framework that is designed to facilitate the choice of concepts, approaches, technologies and methodologies aimed at the development of the railway system, nationally and internationally. Further, Railway 4.0 focuses on to disseminate the experience and knowledge to involved stakeholders (e.g infrastructure owner, entrepreneurs, academia, and consultants). Railway 4.0 provides the railway industry enhanced opportunities to collaborate, cooperate, test, and implement relevant research and development results in the areas of digitalised railway and eMaintenance. This in turn contributes to improved robustness and capacity of the railway transport systems, as well as increased cost efficiency of operation and maintenance.