Creating safer, more secure railways
From cable theft prevention to landslide detection, OptaSense is optimizing railway operations by reducing delays, cutting costs and improving safety for rail operators across the globe.
The railway environment is filled with sensors designed to monitor specific faults. Managing and maintaining this complex web of systems is a time consuming and costly process, and one which OptaSense is ideally placed to replace. Using a single fiber optic sensing system, connected to existing fiber installed alongside the track, OptaSense fulfills the functions of multiple, standalone devices to improve connectivity and visibility, while dramatically reduce operational costs.
What makes OptaSense so interesting is its ability to take an existing fiber optic cable and transform it into a sensor thousands of kilometers long—a technique known as Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS). Using OptaSense DAS technology operators are able to optimize operations, from preventing railway cable theft, detecting landslides and identifying faulty trains and tracks.
Here are some of the ways in which this innovative technology is being used to improve railway operations, costs and safety.
Protecting the copper cable and metal from theft and targeting security response to trackside intrusion around rail yards are both easily monitored using OptaSense’s core software package.
Acoustic monitoring can be used to detect rock fall and land slip events, linking back to dispatch systems to provide early warning to operators globally.
Rail Break Detection
Advanced processing methods allow broken rail events to be detected immediately, with a focussed response from maintenance teams guided directly to the 10m section of track which is damaged. This saves time and cost compared to a conventional track circuit system.
Wheel Flat Identification
Tracking trains continuously gives OptaSense a huge advantage in detecting early onset of a flat wheel defect. Trains can be routed past an inspection site efficiently, reducing damage to the network from carriages travelling huge distances between sensing sites.
Track Condition Monitoring
The OptaSense system monitors energy deposited into the track along its entire length. Maintenance can be targeted at areas which have experienced the most stress, moving maintenance from a reactive regime to a proactive one.
Level Crossing Protection
Using our train tracking capability, warnings can be timed precisely for train arrival at crossing points or platforms.
As the platform hardware is common across all applications, new functionality can be added at any time through software without affecting the operational system. This offers enormous potential for future enhancement in areas such as signalling.