The Freight Wagon Condition Monitoring System (FWCOMS) focuses on the application of Remote Condition Monitoring (RCM) approaches for rail freight wagons, as an enabler for implementing monitoring and predictive maintenance methods on both wagons and fixed infrastructure.


Client: MoniRail, VTG

Location: UK

Services: Innovation

As a DfT award-winning project, FWCOMS saw the application of MoniRail sensor technology alongside Fishbone developed algorithms and machine learning techniques, to demonstrate a prototype system that has the potential to develop health profiles of freight wagons and their components by using harmonic frequencies.

By understanding the harmonic profile of freight wagons, the condition of systems, components, and the track, can be determined and used to identify and predict failures before they occur, resulting in safety issues and network delays. It will also enable our customers to reduce the cost of wagon maintenance by allowing on condition maintenance, rather than by traditional time or mileage-based intervals.

Following the award of Transport Research and Innovation Grant (TRIG) funding from the DfT and Connected Places Catapult, we trialled the fitting of sensor technology to two VTG bogies, one of which had recently been overhauled and one that soon was to require a major overhaul, to collect the widest range of asset condition data.

This project was successfully able to identify:

  • Anomalies within the collected data
  • Differentiate between the two wagons using harmonics with an accuracy of 98%
  • Significant track features

The results indicated that component health could be determined from vibration signatures and could be used to transition to on-condition maintenance of bogie and wagon components.

The TRIG 2021 funding we received was a key enabler in demonstrating our trial system and this has been a vital step for us in being able to demonstrate to the industry that our predictive data algorithms, in collaboration with MoniRail’s axlebox, bogie and bodymounted sensors, are able to successfully demonstrate wagon condition using vibration data. This then enables the assessment of component health for targeted maintenance intervention and has the potential to identify precursors to safety incidents and netowrk delays.

We’d like to thank the DfT and Connected Places Catapult for their ongoing support throughout our time in the Transport Research Innovation Grant (TRIG) 2021 cohort, along with helping us to fund non-mainline testing trials and development of this product forward to drive industry benefits. 

Furthermore, we extend our gratitude to the Chief Scientific Advisor for the DfT, Sarah Sharples, for selecting our project as the TRIG 2021 cohort, Impact for Freight Award.

We look forward to future collaboration opportunities!

Stephanie Coates, Head of Product Engineering






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Stephanie Coates

Head of Engineering and Products View Profile

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