Friday, February 27, 2009

TECHNOLOGY: Obstacle detection

Trials of the UK's first level crossing obstacle detection system have begun at a crossing in North Yorkshire.

The radar-style system is being installed at the manually controlled barrier crossing outside Filey station. It will operate after the barriers have been closed to check that the crossing is clear before the protecting signals can be cleared.

A Network Rail spokeswoman said that Filey had been chosen as it met 'various technical criteria' rather than any history of crossing misuse.

Comment: An interesting development, albeit not as revolutionary as some may think. Obstacle detection for MCB crossings could be a precursor to fully automated manual crossings, but for the foreseeable future it can only be an adjunct to the current CCTV system. Some observers claim that the technology would have prevented the recent incident at West Knapton AHB, but that would only have been the case if it were linked into protecting signals.

See the RSSB research report into obstacle detection for a fuller explanation of the background and technology.


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