The Anonymous Widower

Unauthorised Cable Removal And Fault Triage

This project was one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition run by Innovate UK.

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10038790

Project title: Unauthorised Cable Removal And Fault Triage
Lead organisation: FOCUS SENSORS LIMITED
Project grant: £215,310

Public description: When cable thefts occur the operation of the railway, often in nationally critical locations, can be
brought to a standstill with significant impact on passengers and freight supply-chains. Under
extreme industry and public pressure, Network Rail must delay scheduled activities and scramble
teams to effect repairs and get critical railway operational systems working again. Current
technology may not be able to locate the break to better than a few km accuracy, meaning long
periods of manual inspection are required to locate the exact position of the theft before the repair
can be started. This wastes valuable time, increasing the effect of the theft on the efficiency of the
network and creating cost for operators and delays for customers.
This proposal is for a technology solution, using existing trackside optical fibre cables, which can be
used to locate cable thefts instantly to within +/- 1m. After a theft is reported or detected by other
system, automatic analysis will pinpoint the location of the acoustic signatures of the theft activity.
The location of the theft will be instantly displayed, both on a map overlay with geographical
coordinates, and as a linear ELR, miles and yards track location. This will enable first-responder
policing and security to be deployed sooner and more accurately. Secondly, with an accurately
timed and positioned event signature, there is an opportunity for other parties with evidence
collecting abilities (e.g. Forward Facing CCTV on trains) to more proactively, and possibly
automatically, to retain evidence which may support prosecution. Thirdly the Network Rail
engineering team will be given advanced information to allow them to attend the site with the right
materials and resource to affect an earlier resolution.

As secondary activity we will enable location of optical cable by creating a companion
georeferencing co-reference for the trackside fibre cable, so that faults and fibre issues can be
located instantly to a more precise physical location. This provides a valuable tool for Network
Rail’s engineering teams, to reduce time for maintenance and fault finding.

My Thoughts And Conclusions

My software; Daisy was used by British Rail or was it Railtrack to analyse cable faults many years ago. Because of the discussions, we had at the time, I believe that this could be a very successful project.


November 19, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

FEIDS – FOAS Enabled Intruder Detection System

This project was one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition run by Innovate UK.

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10038989

Project title: FEIDS – FOAS Enabled Intruder Detection System
Project grant: £223,660

Public description: Intruders in a railway environment and critical sites are a major problem for the rail industry, and
one that can cause severe delays if not prevented. Conventional monitoring technology is low
range, impractical and has a high deployment and operational cost. Instead, a system that can
monitor the perimeter of a large area with minimal human supervision and can be used to direct rail
staff to the correct location is required to introduce work efficiencies.

Thales’ subcontractor Focus Sensors have developed the technologies capable of delivering a
persistent perimeter detection system that can detect persons approaching a site before they reach
the perimeter boundary and alert railway staff to their precise location. This will support railway staff
to respond effectively and reduce delay minutes, insuring efficiency and cost benefits.

We propose to showcase a first-of-a-kind application of Focus Sensors’ next-generation Fibre Optic
Acoustic Sensing (FOAS) technology to deliver accurate and real-time information and alerts on
intruders or potential intruders in a rail environment using our lateral-positioning technology
developed for detection trains. This capability will enable security staff to rapidly respond to
incidents and ensure intruders can be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

The FOAS-Enabled Intrusion Detection System (FEIDS) will use FOAS to detect objects moving
near the fibre/perimeter, identify them and determine the distance from a boundary. This monitoring
is both real-time and persistent, enabling alerts to be sent when a person or vehicle gets too close
to or crosses a boundary. The high fidelity of the system means that an intruder’s location can be
determined to an accuracy of +/- 50cm, and this information is crucial to ensuring that on-site
security teams are able to quickly and efficiently deal with the intruder.

This technology can be utilised both along sections of the railway and at specific, sensitive sites.
Due to the long range and autonomous nature of the system, it drastically reduces the workload of
railway staff. Staff will be provided with an automatic alert that will provide them with information on
the nature of the intruder(s) and the exact location. This reduces the time for intervention, enabling
trains slowed due to the risk to resume at normal speed quicker, lowering the impact of trespass. It
also increases the likelihood of trespassers being stopped committing vandalism, which can disrupt
operations, and reduces the likelihood of reoffending.

My Thoughts And Conclusions

November 18, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment