York-based Incremental Solutions, a leading technology provider of smart transport systems, has been chosen by Network Rail and GWR to prototype an innovative O.L.E (Overhead Line Equipment) monitoring solution. The system will identify emerging problems with the interface to overhead power cables with the aim of minimising delays to passengers on potentially affected services caused by irregularities in the O.L.E., supporting continuing efforts to further improve rail services.
The O.L.E. Project employs algorithms, created by Oxford University academics, that use optical recognition to measure the movement of the pantograph on top of each train, plus machine learning and analytics provided by Incremental through its GPS monitoring system. The pantograph, the device that makes contact with the overhead electrical cable and powers each electric train, is designed to adjust to different cable heights and tensions.
The purpose of the trial is to monitor the contact of pantograph with O.L.E. by continually monitoring its state through visual measurement using specialist camera equipment and a processing and connectivity platform provided by Icomera, who complete the delivery team. The gathered data will be analysed to highlight trends and patterns for different trains, routes and connecting overhead cables. The system will then be able to detect differences in the signature created and inform Network Rail and GWR where they need to investigate, and, if necessary, take remedial action before a failure occurs in the O.L.E. system. The O.L.E. prototype will be trialled on Network Rail’s western route with the aim of being rolled out nationally if successful.
Daniel Lee-Bursnall, Commercial Director, said;
“We’re very pleased to have been awarded this project after a competitive tender process. It really demonstrates our credentials within the technology and transport sectors, and it’s a pleasure to work alongside like-minded companies to ensure this project is delivered. The O.L.E. system is very representative of what Incremental Solutions is capable of in terms of using technology to make the rail network function in a safer and more effective way.”