Transport for Wales fits smart cameras on trains to monitor vegetation risks

Posted: 17 March 2020 | | No comments yet

The new video system aims to improve safety and performance by reporting vegetation risks on Welsh railways.


Dolwyddelan Rail Station

Transport for Wales (TfW) is fitting smart cameras on trains to automatically record, analyse and report vegetation risks on the Wales and Borders routes.

It will be the first time the technology, produced by Bristol’s One Big Circle Ltd, has been used in this way in the rail industry.

The Automated Intelligent Video Review system (AIVR) is a lightweight train-borne device that sits inside the windscreen of the train cab and automatically captures video data and other telemetry as the train travels the network.

It is designed to measure changes in the infrastructure each time a train runs the route, as vegetation changes naturally it can be tracked through an early warning heat map which is used to allocate resources. This way, hazardous leaf fall, signal sighting and intrusive growth can be managed proactively and without the need to put people on the track. In poor weather, if a tree had been damaged by gale force winds and was leaning closer to the track than normal or at risk of blocking a driver’s view of a signal, the system would pick this out and alert the management team, before an incident was to occur.

The data, which will be collected throughout the seasons, is transmitted instantly via 4G and accessed securely via the cloud. The video can be reviewed instantly and shared with key working groups and response teams in TfW and Network Rail.

“Our services run over more than 1,000 miles of track so staying up-to-date with changes to the environment is crucial to running a safe and reliable railway for our customers,” commented Seasonal planning Manager at TfW, Rick Fisher. “This technology is a huge leap forward for us and will allow us to work closely with our partners in Network Rail to deal with challenges as they emerge.”

TfW’s Safety and Assurance Director, Leyton Powell, said: “We first saw this technology in September and were so impressed that we commissioned a trial to cover all routes. We’re the first train operator in the UK to deploy the AIVR system on our routes and we’re delighted to be at forefront of using this innovative technology. With management of the Core Valley Lines infrastructure shortly coming under TfW we really think this could make a huge difference to the way we respond to create massive customer, safety and performance benefits.”