April 2021 to March 2022 show 11 passenger and public fatalities on stations, the London underground and tramlines. The Government plans to stimulate economic growth across Britain through projects such as the Elizabeth Line and HS2, but how can new technologies help to increase safety?
Every part of rail and underground infrastructure, whether it’s the station hall, concourse, roof, or platform of 2,500 stations, or the 20,000 miles of tracks with 30,000 bridges, viaducts and tunnels, and 6,000 level crossings, or the train depots and sidings, each element has its own individual security challenges to overcome. Each aspect needs careful consideration when selecting and implementing an effective security solution. It’s a mammoth task, but new technologies are greasing the wheels of today's network security and helping to keep passengers, members of the public, and rail workers safe.
Detecting Safer Crossings
Network rail has closed over 1,250 level crossings in recent years. Yet the number of injuries and near misses has risen. In 2022, eight deaths were recorded (up from five in the previous year), and the number of pedestrians nearly hit by trains at level crossings reached the highest level in almost a decade.
New advanced detection capabilities, such as OPTEX's LiDAR sensors, can improve safety for level-crossing users, operators, network rail and rail companies. Any individual or object trapped between the barriers, or children fooling around on the crossing can be detected.
When the level crossing is active, it signals the LIDAR sensors, and the laser sensor scans the crossing. If it's clear, the signal turns green, and the train passes through safely. If not, the barriers are raised to let the vehicle or pedestrian leave the area before allowing the train to pass. If the vehicles stall or people are stranded on the tracks, the train driver can be warned and the train automatically stopped until the obstruction is cleared. Network Rail has installed OPTEX’s REDSCAN LiDAR technology at more than 400 level-crossings from Scotland to the South Coast.