Smart sensors monitor train doors

Sensors help make a smart city ‘smart’. Implemented across public infrastructure, they can monitor traffic and the use of public services, providing real-time information to improve the running of those services.

Sensor technology can also help improve train services, as illustrated by a project involving train operator Great Western Railway and leasing company Porterbrook.

Under a new contract, Barnbrook Systems will supply wireless sensors that will provide remote condition monitoring of carriage doors.

The company’s BlueCube wireless sensors will be installed on selected trains running between Cardiff and Portsmouth Harbour via Bristol, Bath and Salisbury, as well as Weymouth to Worcester Shrub and Great Malvern, the Salisbury Journal reported last week.

BlueCube’s sensors will monitor opening and closing times of every door at each stop, allowing depot managers to identify faulty or slow doors so they can carry out repairs and improve punctuality, reliability and safety.

The smart sensors and related iSense software — all designed and manufactured by the Fareham-based company — can track nearly any function on a train in real-time to make sure it keeps running efficiently. The system also flags up issues before they turn into major failures which could lead to cancellations, delays or safety problems, the local newspaper said.

Barnbrook chief technology officer Andrew Barnett, quoted by Commercial News Media, commented: BlueCube is smart technology for a 21st-century railway.

This new contract shows the industry is embracing BlueCube as the means to improve efficiency and realise longevity of equipment without compromising on safety and service levels.

Barnbrook’s modular BlueCube technology has also been used by operators to monitor heating and ventilation systems, engine performance, water and sanitation systems and brake control systems on trains.

This kind of innovation is an exciting development in a rail market searching for solutions to its capacity constraints. Part of the challenge is ensuring that safety remains the highest priority, whatever the pressures to maintain train punctuality. Technology which has the capability to help both with punctuality and, more importantly, with passenger safety is a welcome development.”

Lara Burch, Partner

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