Innovation from Digital Rail Ltd helps make railways safer
16 Jul 2019
Britain’s railway passengers will be used to the familiar request from staff to stand behind the yellow line, which now appears on most UK train stations. The line is there for good reason – every year there are incidents caused by people ignoring this advice, resulting in injury and even fatalities.
There are CCTV cameras on carriages to monitor this, and the train drivers and guards do a sterling job of keeping incidents to a minimum, checking the CCTV cameras for each carriage door before departure. But this is a challenge – there may be up to 12 carriage doors to monitor, and this at the busiest time when the driver is trying to leave the platform.
We recently demonstrated an innovation to help reduce yellow line incidents at the Rail Live event, an exhibition which brought the entire rail industry together in a real railway environment. Our RailSight® system assists the driver and guard by detecting anyone beyond the yellow line and alerts the driver’s display by highlighting the carriage door on a monitor. The system uses existing CCTV cameras supplied by Petards and does not impact on any existing systems.
Director Howard Parkinson explained: “We have a great team combining experienced engineers with a young team of computer graduates, many from Lancaster University, where our office is based. Our RailSight® system is currently a prototype and we have a strong interest from train operators to develop a production version. Rail Live was a welcome opportunity for us to show our innovation to the Railway industry. This could not have done without the support of Porterbrook who provided a whole train dedicated to new ideas and technology – the Innovation Hub. We received a lot of interest from a wide range of people, and had the opportunity to explain our ideas to the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling who made a point of visiting the Innovation Hub”
We are involved in several new initiatives which build on the idea of using intelligent systems to interpret CCTV video. These include the yellow line safety improvements, identifying people requiring assistance at platforms (wheelchair users for example) and helping station staff to manage railways users.
We are based at the InfoLab21 building within Lancaster University and work closely with other universities in the north including Huddersfield and MMU. Our next pilot project will be demonstrated at Chippenham station.
For more information about Rail Live visit https://www.raillive.org.uk/