Matthew Holcomb

MATTHEW HOLCOMB

Transportation Technology Center Inc. (TTCI)
United States

FOAD technology in North American railroads

Overview

  • Fiber Optic Acoustic Detection (FOAD) in the North American freight railroad industry
  • Identification of FOAD technology applications of the railroads as well as guide future application development strategies
  • Development of a draft FOAD fibre cable installation guideline document as well as a FOAD Interface Control Document (ICD)

Abstract

Fiber Optic Acoustic Detection (FOAD) is relatively new to the North American freight railroad industry. The technology was first introduced to the freight railroads in late 2011 when CSX corp. funded a proof of concept test at the Transportation Technology Center Inc. (TTCI). This POC test showed promising results for the technology to be capable of detecting many types of wheel and rail defects as well as provide a means of train tracking. Since FOAD technology was introduced, there has been a continued interest from the railroads as well as the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) and the Association of American Railroads (AAR). CSX as well as the FRA have funded several FOAD test programs and built several FOAD testbeds at TTCI in the past six years. This research has yielded valuable data that FOAD suppliers have utilized to continue to improve FOAD system capabilities. The AAR with participation from the North American freight and passenger railroads as well as FOAD venders and fiber optic suppliers have formed a FOAD task force. The task force mission is to identify the FOAD technology applications of the railroads as well as guide future application development strategies. Since its inception, the FOAD task force has identified the top railroad applications FOAD has the potential of being used for. The task force has also developed a draft FOAD fiber cable installation guideline document as well as a FOAD Interface Control Document (ICD). Future work will continue with the FOAD task force to assist in guiding this technology to best meet the needs of the North American freight railroads.

Biography

Matthew Holcomb is a senior engineer at the Transportation Technology Center (TTCI) in Pueblo, Colorado, where he works in the computer and train control engineering group. In 1998 he earned a degree in Computer Information Systems. Shortly after earning his degree he joined the TTCI team and has enjoyed a 19 year career there. During his career, he has had the opportunity to work with many customers from all over the world in a vast array of railroad technology related research and testing. Since 2011, Matthew Holcomb has worked closely on several test programs with DAS suppliers, North American freight railroads, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and the Association of American Railroads (AAR) on the advancement of DAS technology for use in the railroad environment.

 
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