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Optical and Acousto-optic Sensor Technology for Railway-Applications

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - OpticTrainDetection (Optical and Acousto-optic Sensor Technology for Railway-Applications)

Reporting period: 2014-10-01 to 2015-03-31

The objective of the SME – Instrument Phase 1 feasibility study was to investigate the potential applications for operational railway management and asset condition monitoring using an integrated sensing solution combining existing sensors with fibre sensing technologies. Of the two fibre sensing technologies researched Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) was found to be a better practical and technical solution than Fibre Bragg Grating (FBG) for operational rail traffic solutions.
Live studies and tests were conducted on an operational European Rail network to gather both FBG and DAS data detecting train movements and asset condition. A series of meetings were held with rail operators to gauge their view of the available fibre sensing technologies, the proposed integrated rail solutions and to view the test results.
The findings and results were positive and the rail operators confirmed their continuing interest in the proposed integrated sensing technology and their support with a more in depth set of testing and trials.
The feasbility study confirmed that the potential exists to:
• reduce both capital (Capex) and ongoing Operational (Opex) costs with the proposed integrated rail management and asset condition solutions.
• positively improve the environmental impact with the reduction of power and copper cabling along the track.
• provide an attractive career path in the railway industry for engineers of all ages and both genders wishing to work with the latest technology
• replace many aged and obsolete technologies and sensors
• improve safety for both the rail workers and travelling public
• provide a set of integrated solutions providing rail user benefit in the araes of safety, security traffic management and asset maintenance.
Test installation of a Distributed Acoustic Sensor System