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November 27, 2013

SafeRail wins inaugural Future Rail Innovation in Safety award 2013

SafeRail, a joint project by Berner & Mattner and the European Space Agency to improve level crossing safety, has been selected as the winner of the inaugural Future Rail Innovation in Safety award 2013.

By Daniel Garrun

Level crossings

Winner – Berner & Mattner and the European Space Agency – SafeRail

As part of the ESA’s integrated applications promotion (IAP) programme to improve level crossing safety, SafeRail combines terrestrial technologies with space assets, such as telecommunications, observation and navigation, to determine vehicle positions and ultimately reduce the danger of accidents at level crossings. With around 25% of all railroad fatalities caused by accidents at crossings, there are few areas of safety research commanding more attention at present.

To read our full feature article on SafeRail please click here.

2013 Nominees

Hailing from all corners of the industry, from pioneering companies, to groundbreaking and progressive regulators, this year’s nominees were selected on the basis of their outstanding contribution to a safer railway environment.

MTR – Rail Detective

Hong Kong rail image

Hong Kong’s MTR has introduced a new ultrasonic testing vehicle (UTV), called the Rail Detective, designed to reduce track inspection time by half through the identification of small changes to rail tracks.

The new UTV is designed to run at a top speed of 35km/h and will be able to check the complete Kwun Tong Line in three hours, compared to older UTVs which take two nights.

Sierra Wireless – suite of GSM and GSM-R solutions

Wireless systems

One of the major criticisms of any positive train controls system is that if you lose communications, you lose control.

Enter wireless communications, a field which is certain to revolutionise railway safety through enhanced reliability and real-time communications.

Sierra Wireless has been nominated for its work as a constant innovator in this field, providing the broadest range of railway-specific GSM and GSM-R solutions currently available.

SECUREMETRO project – safe metro vehicles

Rail safety

Funded by the European Commission under the auspices of its €8bn Seventh Framework Programme, SECUREMETRO it united a consortium of 11 stakeholders from France, Italy, Spain and the UK in a common cause: to design inherently secure, blast-resistant and fire-safe metro vehicles.

The project aims to release a new set of guidelines this year, designed to allow manufacturers to take blast resistance into account when they design their vehicles, ultimately making rail carriages less of an easy target for terrorists.

NICE Systems – NICE Situator

In May this year NICE Systems announced that ProRail, the government agency responsible for rail infrastructure in the Netherlands, would be deploying their NICE Situator technology to help identify, verify and manage security, safety and operations in real time across their network. From a single, centralised control room, the NICE situator allows operators to manage tens of thousands of incidents a year across the Netherlands’ rail systems, including on-track malfunctions, fire incidents and other crisis situations. Importantly the system will also allow for better accountability through improved post-accident analysis and investigation.

The shortlist for the Future Rail Innovation in Safety awards has been carefully selected by our editorial team, with help from our network of regular contributors and noted industry professionals. With ‘innovation in technology and application’ as our only criteria, these awards are not complied by entry, but instead seek to acknowledge the contribution made by as wide a slice of the industry as possible.


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