An innovative safety product, already nicknamed the ‘skirt detector’, has been launched this week by Zonegreen, and the first installation at Siemens’ prestigious Heathrow Express depot has now been commissioned.

The new Out of Gauge Warning System has been developed in response to rail industry demand for a ‘gold standard’ in obstacle detection systems. It is based around a series of non-contact laser rangefinder sensors, and prevents a train from leaving the depot if its side skirt has not been fully closed.

Zonegreen’s managing director Tony Hague said, “The Out of Gauge Warning System is a unique product and a genuine step forward in intelligent rail safety technology.

We are delighted to have worked with Siemens Mobility on this first project. Siemens is a highly safety conscious and forward-thinking company with a real interest in the kind of innovative safety solutions that Zonegreen works so hard to spearhead.”

The new system, which is currently undergoing a performance proofing period, works by using a low power red laser diode to detect the distance to the side of the vehicle. If the sensor detects any kind of obstruction, for example an open skirt, it will trigger an alert on the outbound visual warning board and the illumination of a driver warning stop board on the depot exit road. The stop signs will remain illuminated until the warning is reset via the master key.

The system is flexible and has a range of programmable options, such as a delayed response to help prevent the triggering of false alerts. It may also be expanded to cover the entire side area of the vehicle using a multiple sensor arrangement.

Zonegreen is a small Sheffield-based team of research engineers and scientists, and has developed a reputation as one of the most dynamic and innovative companies in the field of intelligent safety technology. The Out of Gauge Warning System is just the latest innovation to come from the team responsible for developing the SMARTTM DPPS, which is now installed in the vast majority of new UK depots, including Eurostar, as well as a growing number of depots overseas.

For more information visit the Zonegreen website.