Friday, March 11, 2016

Defect Detectors Rev. 3/20/16

A defect detector is a device used on railroads to detect axle and signal problems in passing trains. The detectors are normally integrated into the tracks and often include sensors to detect several different kinds of problems that could occur. Defect detectors were one invention which enabled American railroads to eliminate the caboose at the rear of the train, as well as various station agents stationed along the route to detect unsafe conditions. The use of defect detectors has since spread to other overseas railroads.

Defect Detector with Audio

The photos are of the defect detector on the FEC mainline in S. Lucie County, Fl. at Walton Road, north of Jensen beach.

The audio was recorded online listening to the Broadcastify Folkston, Ga. area feed. The detector is on the dual CSX mainline mile A610.6 between Boulogne and Callahan, Fl. Listen to the end.

More information at the Trains Magazine website. Always a good source.
Several other videos on YouTube. 

EDIT March 20, 2016 to add  some still photos

Hotbox or Hot Bearing Detector

Dragging Equipment Detector

Laser Detector
Lasers shine down on each side of the passing train. Anything that cuts through the beam will be counted as a defect.

Control box and VHF Antenna

Overview of hotbox and dragging equipment detectors with one leg of bridge that holds laser detectors.


  1. Nice video! But they should have used Alf's voice.....

  2. Thanks for the nice comment and LOL at the Alf comment.
    I put that together with some pictures I took Tuesday and an older recording. I didn't think it was very good, it is a learning experience every time I use that program. The linked article from Trains magazine is good.

  3. The program is Open Shot in linux. It is really a great program, I just don't use it enough to remember. And best of all, it is FREE!
    I guess I should just make more videos and post more. :-)

    1. You did a good job! Maybe some day I will learn something other than copy, cut and paste! LOL

  4. Great update with photos! Didn't know they were using lasers! Now we know what to look for!

    Alf wouldn't eat the Easter Bunny - would he?? :o(


    1. After doing the original post I decided to go back and get some detailed photos of the sensors. I learned about the lasers reading up to do the post.
      ~in your best Rissian Accent~ On Melmac, Easter Bunny eats you! ~end Russian accent~

  5. Send me an email sometime. I have some train stuff you might find interesting.

    1. Just saw your comment. My notification system wasn't working. Will send email now. Thanks.