GB Railfreight (GBRf) has announced the successful completion of a four-week trial of a system designed to monitor wheel and brake problems on freight trains. Developed in partnership with Icomera, DG8, and SENSEi, this world-first system uses battery-powered sensors to remotely relay status and out-of-tolerance alerts to drivers and control centers as they conduct pre-checks on their vehicles. Following the successful four-week trial, further solutions are being developed and further trials are planned in the near future.
This Internet of Things (IoT) technology is a significant step towards creating a safer and more efficient rail network by reducing the number of incidents related to wheel and brake faults. Until now, there has been no known method of wirelessly transmitting sensor data from freight car brakes to the locomotive driver through a closed system. With this new system, train drivers receive sensor data directly on a tablet application in their cabs, enabling them to take immediate action to address potential wheel or brake-related risks and respond to real-time feedback on their actions.
Peter Kingsland, Senior Vice President of Icomera UK, emphasized the importance of digitally driven solutions for enhancing rail safety and efficiency, stating, "Rail freight operators are rightly paving the way for digitally driven solutions to mitigate risks as the freight industry grows. Connecting drivers and the engineering teams that support them to real-time trainborne sensor data is a natural step toward a safer and more efficient rail network for all users."
Damon Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of SENSEi Networks Limited, highlighted the role of low-power sensors, long-range wireless networking, and edge intelligence in enabling autonomous monitoring and real-time alerts in the freight rail sector. He noted that these innovations have the potential to significantly improve operational efficiency, cost reduction, and safety in the industry.