WIT Press

Monitoring systems for railways freight vehicles


Free (open access)


Volume 10 (2022), Issue 4



Page Range

359 - 371

Paper DOI



WIT Press


Nicola Bosso, Matteo Magelli & Nicolò Zampieri


Monitoring systems are a key tool to improve the safety of railway vehicles and to support maintenance activities. Their on-board application on railway vehicles is currently well established on newly built passenger vehicles, while their use on freight vehicles is not yet sufficiently widespread. This is due to the complex management of the operating procedures of the freight wagons, to the substantial impact of the cost of these systems compared to the cost of the wagon and to the common lack of electrification on freight wagons.

This work illustrates the characteristics of a monitoring system developed at Politecnico di Torino and previously installed on freight vehicles and operationally tested as regards the detection of accelerations and temperatures as diagnostic parameters. This system has been improved by adding diagnostics of the vehicle braking system, in order to detect anomalies during braking operations and to support maintenance procedures. The activity described in the present work aims to identify, beyond the specific diagnostic system that has been implemented, the basic characteristics that a modern monitoring system, intended to be installed on railway freight wagons, should feature. The new version of the monitoring system that has been developed at Politecnico di Torino has been preliminarily tested on a scaled roller-rig in order to monitor the braking system even in abnormal operating conditions, which would be difficult to reproduce safely on a real vehicle. The monitoring system is equipped with an axle generator capable of autonomously supporting its operation, and it is also provided with a diagnostic information processing system and communication protocols to send outside this information.


diagnostic systems, onboard monitoring systems, railway monitoring.