PRZOOM - /newswire/ -
Bury, Lancashire, United Kingdom, 2009/09/30 - Rail safety specialist, Rowe Hankins, has introduced the first Wi-Fi enabled on-train monitoring and recording unit (OTMR) on the UK rail network.
The Teloc unit from HaslerRail has been installed by Rowe Hankins (rowehankins.com) on a Porterbrook Turbostar operated by London Midland as part of a long term trial.
The trial started in June and is expected to run for at least six months. Steve Stone, technical director at Rowe Hankins, commented, “The main purpose of the OTMR remains as an evidential recorder for judicial purposes but data transmission by Wi-Fi is a considerable advance in making this high value data more useful in strategic management.”
Traditionally data is downloaded from the OTMR via a ruggedized laptop for later transfer to a desktop where software permits event analysis and interpretation. The new Wi-Fi enabled Teloc removes the need for physical download and therefore all the complications and possible dangers of porting data between devices. It offers automated data transfer which is quicker and more robust, with higher levels of data access and security. This is expected to provide safety and efficiency improvements by enabling more timely maintenance and management action.
The new Teloc unit is linked to a WiFi bridge for data transmission. Data download is still possible via laptop or via a USB memory stick, but the unit has both GPRS and WiFi antennas for main download. This gives flexibility and the additional back-up for data transfer if one system is unavailable. Systems monitored include brakes, speed, door operation, signals response and GPS position. All data packages are tagged with vehicle identity.
Via the data-bridge, data packets are transmitted in units of 128 Kbyte to the HaslerRail data centre. This high integrity server farm has the highest levels of back-up, firewall and UPS protection. Secure access to the data is allowed only to authorised organisations – London Midland and Porterbrook – who are equipped with HaslerRail software for data analysis and interpretation.
Speaking for Porterbrook, Alf Shepherd, the Turbostar fleet engineer explained, “With the phasing out of RS232 interfaces the recovery of data from older OTMR’s and other devices was becoming a problem. Physical download by the train operator also limited my access to data, but with the new system I can readily call up data from the data centre. This makes it easier for me to appreciate factors such as the mileage and wear and tear on the asset so that programmed inspection, service or refurbishment of key systems can be properly scheduled with the operator.”