Great Northern to fit trains with new system to identify possible breakdowns


The UK's Great Northern Railway has completed installation of a smart high-tech kit that will notify the engineers through email when the machine parts start developing a problem.

Run by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the railway has installed sensors on wheel bearings and gearboxes on all 40 of its Class 365 trains that run between Cambridge, Peterborough and London King’s Cross.

GTR engineering director Gerry McFadden said: “This significant investment in state-of-the-art technology will improve the reliability of trains on the route, giving our passengers better journeys.

“Problems will be highlighted months in advance before these vital components have a chance to break down, avoiding further damage and delays.”

“This significant investment in state-of-the-art technology will improve the reliability of trains on the route, giving our passengers better journeys."

Designed by Southampton University spun-out Perpetuum, the system utilises vibration sensors to provide real-time monitoring and diagnostics services.

Perpetuum chief executive Steve Turley said: “If a defect is developing, it will create a specific vibration signature which our technology can isolate and email an alert to Great Northern’s engineers at their depot in Hornsey.

“Looking at other train operators, we’ve never had a failure in service for the components our sensors monitor.”

In addition to Great Northern, GTR operates Thameslink, Southern and Gatwick Express services in the UK.

GTR carries nearly 326 million passengers per annum.

In a separate development, the company replaced the older Thameslink trains operating between London Bridge, Gatwick Airport and Brighton with new Siemens Class 700 carriages.


Image: Fitting sensors to the Great Northern Class 365 fleet at Hornsey depot, north London, UK. Photo: courtesy of Govia Thameslink Railway.