by Josephine Cordero Sapién
06 Sep 2021
Network Rail has contracted a consortium led by Thales Ground Transportation Systems to develop and trial fibre-optic acoustic sensing (FOAS) technology.
The purpose of FOAS is to improve safety and performance on the network. The FOAS technology will also be enriched with data fusion to further improve its ‘listening’ abilities.
There are already around 20,000km of fibre-optic cables running alongside railway lines in Britain. These can be used as virtual microphones to improve remote condition monitoring and deliver train performance data. One of the chief benefits of this technology is that it uses existing infrastructure.
This contract comes after a design contest that was launched in November 2020 by Network Rail and ProRail – the two infrastructure managers (UK and Netherlands) signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on R&D in March 2019. The contest asked more than 40 suppliers to put forward ideas for a year-long outcome-focused trial for FOAS, IoT, sensors and smart CCTV cameras, brought together by intelligent data fusion and processing. Four operational challenges were to be addressed:
The trial with Thales will take place at Network Rail’s RIDC Melton test track as well as on the mainline railway between Melton Mowbray and Leicester starting this autumn.
“This is a brilliant example of collaboration between Network Rail and ProRail to research and develop solutions to problems that are common to us both, and we look forward to working closely with the Thales-led consortium. RIDC Melton and the adjacent main line provide the perfect operational scenarios for us to safely and expertly test the technology and fully evaluate its potential.”
In its statement, Network Rail further pointed out that the data gathered in this trial could feed into the Rail Data Marketplace recently announced by the UK government, a platform to share rail data across the industry. The platform, which is receiving 5m GBP in government funding, will launch in 2022.
Alstom has carried out the first testing of a train retrofitted with European Train Control System (ETCS) equipment at Network Rail's RIDC.
Network Rail's new safety scheme will equip more than 15,000 British freight trains with technology to monitor the condition of wheelsets.
ORR has issued authorisations to all Elizabeth line stations due to open on 24 May, confirming the infrastructure is ready for passenger use.
An Office of Rail and Road (ORR) Investigation has led to Network Rail being fined 1.4 million GBP for a health and safety breach.
Network Rail joins with freight rail industry to tackle freight rail delays and safety risks with launch of new programme.
HS2 has reached an agreement to purchase Square One on Travis Street, Manchester from property provider Bruntwood.
TfL's Northern line Bank branch will re-open on 16 May following a 17-week closure as part of the Bank Station Capacity Upgrade project.
The ORR has launched its business plan for 2022/23, with details on how it plans to more closely scrutinise the work of Network Rail.
A new tool has been launched to help measure the social value of rail investments, infrastructure projects and day-to-day operations.
BREAKING: Transport for London (TfL) has announced the opening date for the Elizabeth line (Crossrail).
Stadler has introduced its Class 99 bi-mode Co’Co’ locomotives to the UK, following a successful rollout across Europe.
Jonn Elledge looks at the story behind Andy Burnham's pointed comments about the exorbitant costs of rail fares in Britain.
HS2 has unveiled updated environmentally-friendly designs for the Cubbington, Warwickshire section of the new high speed line.
Priority Seating Week marks five years since Transport for London launched its ‘Please Offer me a Seat’ badge.
Siemens Mobility’s train-borne conditioning monitoring system is one of six solutions being tested in Network Rail’s Lot 1 Operational Trial.
Network Rail will start engineering upgrades on parts of the Dartmoor Line next week, ahead of the introduction of new hourly services.
Network Rail and the Office of Rail and Road are collaborating to increase competitiveness and lower costs in the rail signalling market.
Siemens Mobility and Network Rail are celebrating the milestone of having upgraded 10,000 of 11,700 cab radios to the latest V4.0 version.
Over two thirds of suppliers (67%) have committed to Network Rail’s science-based targets initiative aimed at limiting carbon emissions.
It has now been over 900 days since the UK Government published its Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline reports the RIA.
HS2 has unveiled the final designs for the Thame Valley Viaduct, which will cross the River Thame’s flood plain near Aylesbury.
The ORR has made a number of recommendations after reviewing the safety issues that caused the Class 800 trains to be withdrawn last year.
ScotRail officially entered public ownership on 1 April, with Nicola Sturgeon marking the occasion at Glasgow Queen Street Station.
Network Rail has awarded Alstom the contract to deliver Phase 5 of the London Victoria Re-signalling Programme.
The Office of Rail and Road believes the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board is supporting safety in the light rail and tram sector.
Limited progress is being made regarding the UK Government's rail decarbonisation plans according to a Railway Industry Association report.
Following an investigation into the 2016 Sandilands tram derailment, the ORR has launched prosecutions for breaches of health and safety law.
GTR will continue to operate the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail services, having been awarded a new contract by the DfT.
HS2 has unveiled designs for Chiltern Tunnel’s north portal, which focus on cutting noise from trains as they enter and exit the tunnel.
In this month's column, Jonn Elledge ponders the many places Crossrail could have gone, with decreasing plausibility.
A new report highlights the role of HS2 and high speed rail in general in reducing emissions and ultimately achieving net zero.
Progress on Scotland's Levenmouth Rail Link is moving ahead of plan as the first sections of rail are laid.
The UK is helping finance a new high speed electric railway line in Turkey that will connect Ankara with Izmir.
A competition-winning idea to support the decarbonisation of rail is currently being trialled at a rail freight terminal in Northamptonshire.
LSER has been issued with a penalty notice of 23.5 million GBP by the UK government, following a 'serious' breach of its franchise agreement.
Network Rail has announced an additional £2m in emergency funding to help protect the Cambrian Line from future extreme weather events
The two tunnel boring machines digging the HS2 twin tunnels under the Chilterns have reached the ventilation shaft at Chalfont St Peter.
Rolling stock leasing company Porterbrook and freight operator GB Railfreight are partnering to produce 50 new Greenbrier box wagons.
Northern and Network Rail have launched an appeal for information after vandals threw a log into the path of an oncoming train near Bolton.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has released its report into the Stonehaven Derailment, in which three people lost their lives.
HS2 has shared updated designs for its high speed railway terminus station at London Euston, which will be set across three levels.
Alstom has won a £49 million signalling contract as part of Network Rail's Portsmouth Direct upgrade project.
Laser scanners and drones have been used to plan essential maintenance of the 19th century Whalley railway viaduct in Lancashire.
Network Rail has begun construction of the Levenmouth Rail Link, including the removal of the old track bed.
Network Rail has overhauled platforms at Carlisle station for a total sum of 6.5 million GBP, improving drainage and fitting tactile paving.
Hitachi Rail and its subsidiary Perpetuum have won a contract with Network Rail to develop condition monitoring technology in Scotland.
Transport for Wales (TfW) has completed the refurbishment of its fleet of Class 158, as part of a £40m upgrade programme.
Jonn Elledge muses whether train operating companies currently have a perverse incentive to avoid running more services.
Network Rail has introduced specially trained sniffer dogs to track down the metal thieves that cause major delays to services.
Network Rail is continuing major railway upgrades between Manchester and Stalybridge as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU).
Alstom has been awarded a 130 million GBP contract as part of Network Rail’s Cambridge re-signalling project.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has published its interim report on the Salisbury Tunnel junction collision which occurred in Oct 21.
Network Rail has appointed Rob Morton as its new Route Services Managing Director, taking over from the outgoing Susan Cooklin.
The Mace and Dragados joint venture (MD JV) – HS2’s construction partner for Euston station – is ramping up procurement this month.
Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth confirmed in a statement to parliament on 9 February that ScotRail would transfer into public ownership.
This summer the University of Huddersfield’s Institute of Railway Research will launch Harold 2.0 – a full-scale bogie test rig.
Weekend work will take place during February and March as part of the East Coast Digital Programme to upgrade tracks and signalling.
In his January column, Jonn Elledge muses about how former non-entity Stratford (London) became Britain's busiest station in 2020/21.
Network Rail has released its new Third Adaption Report, which outlines the risks climate change poses to the UK’s railway.
A new piling technology, known as hollow impressed precast energy reusable pile (HIPER), is being trialled at HS2’s Euston station site.
HS2 has signed the Rail Supply Group’s Work Pipeline Visibility Charter and will share its rail systems' technical specifications publicly.
The ‘High Speed Rail (Crewe-Manchester) Bill’ – HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg – will be introduced in parliament today (24 January 2022).
Network Rail is about to start a new trial project to improve lineside biodiversity on the West Highland Line.
As the first phase of the Elizabeth line trial operations comes to an end, passenger services are set to begin in the first half of 2022.
HS2 has chosen TK Elevator to manufacture and install approximately 160 lifts and 130 escalators at its four main stations.
Overnight engineering work begins on 24 January to improve the railway line between Dawlish and Holcombe in Devon.
HS2 archaeologists have excavated a vast roman settlement in Northamptonshire - one of over 100 sites HS2 has examined since 2018.
HS2 has published its Net Zero Carbon Plan, which sets out how it plans to make the project net zero carbon from 2035.
HS2 has revealed the first images of its 1.5 mile-long Greatworth tunnel - one of three ‘green tunnels’ to be built in Bucks and Notts.
Experts from industry and academia are developing an on-board system that can identify low adhesion hazards such as leaves on the line.
Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV) has launched a recruitment drive to support HS2 construction works planned for 2022 and beyond.
Network Rail has begun track, bridge and station works designed to improve services for travellers between London and Anglia.
Britain: There have been no rail services on Christmas Day for 40 years and once again Network Rail has delivered a swathe of upgrades.
Jonn Elledge gets into the Christmas spirit and does some finger-pointing as to who is really to blame for the state of Britain's railways.
Platform construction has started at Winslow as part of the East West Rail project. 500 precast concrete platform units will be laid.
Electrification of the railway line between Kettering and Market Harborough on the Midland Main Line to begin on 24 December 2021.
The first of 56 giant concrete piers for the Colne Valley Viaduct has been cast. Once complete, this will be the UK's longest rail bridge.
Engineering works will take place at Salisbury to check the alignment of the new track laid after the collision at Fisherton Tunnel.
Siemens Mobility has been awarded the contract to deliver signalling works for the Carstairs remodelling project in Scotland.
The contract to design, build and maintain the HS2 rolling stock fleet for Phase 1 London-Birmingham has gone to the Hitachi Rail-Alstom JV.
Transport for the North (TfN) has launched a transport decarbonisation strategy for the north of England - the first of its kind.
As part of an initiative to help tackle period poverty, Network Rail has begun offering free sanitary products at Leeds station.
The first tunnel boring machine working on HS2 in the Midlands launched on 2 December, excavating a one-mile tunnel in Warwickshire.
Arriva Group, which owns the Chiltern Railways operating company, has signed a six-year National Rail Contract with the DfT.
Transport for Wales (TfW) has taken delivery of the first of 35 Stadler Class 231 FLIRT trains ahead of testing.
Stanton Precast has been awarded the contract to deliver three 'green tunnels' for HS2 by the main works contractor EKFB.
The ORR has published its Rail Industry Finance report for 2020–21, showing that the sector is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
Network Rail is creating a special bridge for endangered wild hazel dormice in Lancashire in a bid to grow their populations.
The trial operations phase of the Elizabeth line has now begun. This is the final stage of the project before the line opens in 2022.
Work on HS2’s Old Oak Common 850-metre-long station box has begun. The reinforced concrete structure will form the station's frame and base.
Regular train services resumed on the Dartmoor Line between Exeter and Okehampton this past weekend after a 50-year hiatus.
The Integrated Rail Plan published today, 18 November 2021, announces a huge slash in new railway lines being built in England.
Following the collision between a SWR train and a GWR train on 31 October, the line is set to reopen to passenger traffic on 16 November.
Jonn Elledge laments COP26's focus on electric vehicles to the exclusion of all other modes of transport, including the cleanest of them all.
For Transport Day at COP26 (10 Nov 2021), UITP and UIC have released a joint statement urging a focus on rail and public transport.
Alstom and Eversholt Rail have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at the development of 10 three-car hydrogen trains for the UK.
Hitachi Rail and Angel Trains have agreed to retrofit batteries on to TransPennine Express Nova 1 intercity trains.
The Office of Rail and Road has published its Signalling Market Study, launched in November 2020, to improve competition in the sector in GB.
Hitachi Rail and ScottishPower have signed a three-year deal for 100 percent renewable electricity (wind, solar, hydro-electric).
Please fill in the contact form opposite. A member of the team will be in touch shortly.