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July 30, 2013

Future Rail: Issue 8

In this issue: We look at the latest technologies to improve level crossing safety, announce the nominees for our Innovations in Safety award, hear how drone technology is being used to reduce graffiti and ask if there should be a new Beeching Axe

By Stephanie Phillips

Issue 8

The regular occurrence of fatal accidents at level crossings proves that this age-old safety issue remains unresolved even today. We find out if modern automation technology is robust enough to provide an answer.

We also learn about the drone technology planned in Germany to take on illegal graffitists and announce the nominees for the Future Rail Innovations in Safety 2013 award.

Moreover, we find out how human behavioural science was used to transform London Bridge station into a more user-friendly commuter hub, ask whether closure is the best solution for under-used UK stations, and take a look at new research suggesting that the air quality in underground networks could be harmful to the health of regular travellers and staff.

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In this issue

Crossing Safely
Level-crossing safety remains at the top of the global industry agenda as new technologies emerge. We investigate intelligent transport systems, integrated satellites and Network Rail’s £130m investment package.
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Future Rail Awards 2013
While rail may be one of the safest forms of transport, recent tragedies in Spain and Canada prove that when accidents happen they can be disastrous. Much of the work done to improve safety relies on perfecting the design and management of networks, but research into new technologies remains crucial. To celebrate innovation in this field Future Rail is launching the Innovations in Safety Award.
Read the full article.

Spy in the Sky
Deutsche Bahn is testing an unmanned drone to tackle Germany’s illegal graffitists. We ask if the system will prove effective, or if it is a step too far.
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Designing Behaviour
Human behavioural science is being employed at the new £700m London Bridge redevelopment to increase user-friendliness. We learns more from David Watts and Adam Parkes of CCD Design & Ergonomics.
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Scrap or Save
Teesside Airport Rail Station in the UK has received just 14 passengers in a year. We ask whether sixty years after the Beeching Axe, another cull could help the Department for Transport reduce expenses.
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Dangerous Dust
New research has shown that unregulated, ultrafine dust particles found in underground networks are rich in potentially harmful metals. We investigate the health risks for staff and passengers.
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Awash Woldia / Hara Gebeya Railway Line Project, Ethiopia
Awash Woldia / Hara Gebeya Railway Project is a new railway line being constructed between the Ethiopian towns of Awash and Woldia.
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Next issue preview

The introduction of 4G networks has been making waves in the telecommunications industry and elsewhere, but what’s in it for rail operators and passengers? We find out about the benefits, obstacles and future plans for 4G implementation on the world’s railways.

We also explore Canada’s effort to overhaul safety measures on the rail network, take a look at a futuristic virtual ticketing concept that operates from a centralised location, and find out if a new process for reforming natural gas into hydrogen could provide a fast-track to eco-friendly propulsion.

Moreover, we profile a new EU project aimed at saving energy in subway systems, and find out how a developer of energy-capturing floors is working with the Russian Railway Research Institute to explore human footfall in stations as an alternative source of energy.

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