Yorkshire rail tech supplier secures funding for £2bn-saving project
Supplier of data-driven solutions to the rail industry, Incremental, secured funding from Innovate UK to bring its latest product, FORSE, to fruition for a 12-month trial.
Incremental’s existing real time train identification, movement and tracking solution (AEGIS) will be integrated with fibre-optic acoustic sensing to create a new way to continually monitor the railway and detect track faults.
The development of FORSE (Fibre Optic Railway Sensing Equipment) will be a collaboration between York-based Incremental, Austrian company Sensonic, and Network Rail.
The 12-month trial will focus on detecting the early signs of defective rail joints, currently only detectable through manual inspection. FORSE combines Sensonics’ experience in using fibre-optic cables and location-fixing microphones to detect defects, with Incremental’s AEGIS system that provides data to track and identify all trains on the network.
Daniel Lee-Bursnall, co-founder and CEO of Incremental, said: “Every year around £2bn and more than 1m hours are spent walking the track to detect, locate and rectify faults.
“Fusing the train tracking and location data from AEGIS with fibre-optic noise sensing 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.
“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.”
Deep Desai, CCO at Sensonic added: “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.”
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