Month: November 2018

Tackling Low Adhesion in Rail using Digital Technology

Tackling Low Adhesion in Rail using Digital Technology

Digital technology consultancy 3Squared has teamed up with the Met Office and Colas Rail to tackle one of the rail industries biggest seasonal challenges that can result in significant disruptions to passenger journeys.

A major problem for the industry, it has been estimated that low adhesion costs the industry millions of pounds each year.

The solution proposed by the consortium involves the development of an Adhesion Digital Solution (ADS), the funding for which comes through the RSSB’s TOC 17 competition to identify innovative projects that will improve operational performance.

ADS will compliment a number of solutions for tackling low adhesion that exist today, including line side vegetation clearance and rail head treatment programmes, by focusing on providing drivers with detailed information on the likely adhesion conditions they will experience along a route in real-time allowing them to regulate the train accordingly.

ADS will also combine data from the Met Office Low Adhesion model together with ‘crowd sourced’ driver reported data to give operators detailed up to the minute route relevant adhesion forecasts.

James Fox, 3Squared’s Commercial director said: “The whole industry works hard to manage low adhesion which costs the rail industry millions of pounds each year causing major delay for both passenger and freight train services.

“This collaborative project takes a dramatically different and innovative data driven approach to solving a problem that continues to cause significant disruption on the UK network”.

“ADS will provide operators and drivers with detailed route adhesion insight to help them make more informed decisions on train regulation that will ultimately reduce the likelihood of incidents and help reduce risk.”

3Squared will lead the consortium, providing project management, software development and systems integration expertise for the ADS project.

The Met Office provides government, the military and road rail and aviation markets with information about weather and climate and offers the project high spatial and temporal resolution forecasts, training and low adhesion expertise.

Colas Rail will provide locations and key operations personnel across Scotland for trials of the system.

If you would like to be kept in touch about this project, please email [email protected]

Preventative maintenance – better than cure

Freight train staff

GBRf has teamed up with 3Squared to help eliminate avoidable locomotive failures that can cause potentially costly delays on the rail network and to establish a unique train driver review process.

The Remote Data Download application (RDD) will stream in near real time from each locomotive data such as fuel and coolant levels and train performance details such as speed and braking.

The data will be fed into 3Squared’s RailSmart fleet defect reporting and corrective action programme.

Analysis of the data will allow GBRf to identify and deal proactively with any issue likely to cause a problem with their locomotive fleet before it happens.  This preventative maintenance approach will reduce asset downtime and increase fleet utilisation.

This data is also to be used by GBRf in a ground breaking, first of a kind for the industry review of train driver performance.

Currently all drivers must undergo a review with an assessor each week, month or quarter.

Assessors travel out to a locomotive, download data provided by the on-train monitoring recorder, take it back to the office and then review with the driver.

This process is carried out with all drivers.

The GBRf-3Squared solution, however, turns this model on its head.

Now data is sent electronically in real time to the freight operator’s systems and is checked by the system for any irregularity such as speeding or excessive braking.

Those TMs that might then require support to improve are highlighted by the system, thereby allowing GBRf assessors to focus on the individuals that require support the most.

This proactive and targeted model of support will help to reduce dramatically the risk and likelihood of incidents.

GBRf’s class 66 locomotives will be fitted with RDD technology by the end of the year, with the rest of the fleet following that.

Dean Duthie, Head of Major Projects and Facilities said “RDD is revolutionary, allowing us become more proactive in how we keep our locomotives running for longer on today’s network, maximising fleet availability and the ability to monitoring re-occurring failures, thanks to having real time data, at the click of a button”

This data can also act as a supportive tool for our frontline operations giving analytical feedback on driving performance.”

Tim Jones, 3Squared MD said: “Locomotive failures can be costly to the freight company and disruptive to passenger and freight train services.

“The Remote Data Download application will help create a preventative maintenance regime for GBRf identifying any potential problems before they become critical.

“With new features being added as the project progresses, RDD is a major step forward in the safe management of the company’s fleet and the development of its train crew.”