Teaming up for a future-proof railway in UK.
A combination of financial support and the possibility to jump right into practice are exactly what innovative ideas need to grow strong in the short time. To prepare such ground, Network Rail, Incremental and Sensonic have agreed to work in collaboration to develop a new cutting-edge solution recognised by the jury of Innovate UK, who agreed to fund this shared project.
Shake hands with data
FORSE (Fibre Optic Railway Sensing Equipment) is a result of joint know-how: On the one hand there is Incremental’s existing and proven real-time train identification, movement and tracking solution AEGIS. The other part of this new system is based on data from Sensonic, who are deriving a broad range of information by creating and interpreting a digital twin of all vibrations along a railway track.
Network Rail has agreed to run a 12-month trial between Allington Junction and Skegness on the East Midland Poacher Line. This will focus on detecting the early signs of defective rail joints, currently only detectable through manual inspection. While degradation of joints can be detected via Sensonic’s solution, Incremental’s AEGIS provides data to track and identify all trains on the network. As an outcome, valuable information is instantly attainable to Network Rail via a bespoke dashboard that can be accessed remotely by all relevant stakeholders.
High practical benefit
Deep Desai, CCO at Sensonic is convinced that “the deployment of FORSE will dramatically reduce the need for speculative track inspections, increasing productivity by freeing maintenance staff to solve problems, rather than look for them, while improving lineside safety by removing boots from ballast. We’re excited about this new collaboration with Incremental and Network Rail to fast-track a game-changing solution focused on customer usability, efficiency and safety with our solution being part of this. With every train movement, the vibrations caused all along the infrastructure contains a plethora of insights. We are the leading company in the industry and our sole focus is on using our industry knowledge to augment the railway passenger experience; at Sensonic we have seen the power of our SonicTwin and continue to learn how the insights from the vibration digital twin can be used for upskilling staff and increasing the efficiency of the current track maintenance ecosystem.”
Daniel Lee-Bursnall, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Incremental, agrees: “Every year around £2billion and more than one-million-man hours are spent walking the track to detect, locate and rectify faults. Fusing the train tracking and location data from AEGIS with data from Sensonic enables FORSE to monitor the condition of fixed points and track individual trains dynamically and accurately as they move around the network, acting as virtual track inspectors.”
Emphasizing the value
The massive potential of this solution to support the railway industry in reducing costs and increasing efficiency did well to impress the jury behind Innovate UK. This funding drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas. It connects businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn ideas into commercial products, services, and business growth.
“We’re thrilled that once again Innovate UK has recognised our proven track record of delivering pioneering and effective solutions that will benefit the performance of the rail network for everyone. FORSE is a perfect example of how individual companies, with their own areas of expertise, can work together to create one solution that is a game-changer for the rail industry and its customers”, Daniel Lee-Bursnall says, speaking for both, Incremental and Sensonic.
Photo credit: Sensonic