News

Control and Display

Innovation in Motion

Across L.B. Foster Europe, we constantly provide our customers with the forward thinking they need to drive their businesses. Take our SmartStation technology.

L.B. Foster Europe operates in challenging and often complex environments. We’re embedded in the rail industry, so understanding the future of the UK’s railway network is a commercial imperative. What will it look like? More importantly, how can we be part of it?

A solar powered mounted security camera against a blue sky

Rail passenger numbers are predicted to double in the next 25 years. Network Rail’s ‘Delivering for our Customers’ is a plan to transform its organisation to deliver services that passengers will want and need in the years ahead. That requires major upgrades to the railway to allow more and longer trains to run, as well as the development of new lines such as HS2 and Crossrail 2. These interventions alone will not be sufficient to meet demand. That’s why the digitalisation of the railway to increase capacity is so important. Market opportunities such as the digital railway are once in a generation. So how is L.B. Foster innovating in its response?

Solutions integration

The digital railway is already upon us and the opportunities it affords are far reaching. At L.B. Foster Europe we’ve been asking ourselves how our traditional engineering solutions and our in-house expertise in software development and information technology can work better together to deliver extraordinary capabilities for the digital railway.

We are already progressing with the digital integration of all L.B. Foster solutions, including intelligent consumable monitoring of our on-board and trackside Friction Management solutions. The capability for Network Rail to remotely monitor track products is also in development, with all L.B. Foster Rail Technologies’ track products network ready by 2020.

But what about at a customer level? Imagine the ability to forward plan the best place to board your train, or check the real-time status of your train from your mobile, smoothing your journey through the station. SmartStation by L.B.Foster is a new overarching concept that we are developing to inform the future of customer journeys. It includes mobile displays to deliver dynamic customer information, helping travellers at stations make informed decisions. SmartStation technologies will deliver improvements to current information systems with:

  • dynamic wayfinding depending on service and station usage
  • dynamic service updates with live train location
  • dynamic disruption management using near field technology.

Using mobile display technology, information screens update remotely advising travellers of changes to the route service in a more accessible way. SmartStation’s total signage solution covers every station touchpoint putting decision making in the hands of travellers. And by integrating CCTV surveillance into the solution, decisions such as delaying journeys or wayfinding choices can be made ahead of travel. SmartStation is a part of L.B. Foster’s Intelligent Transport strategy.

Low power, solar gateway camera

The Solar Gateway solves the need for customers to keep themselves informed where power and data cables cannot be provided. As part of a comprehensive remote asset condition monitoring scheme, the Solar Gateway becomes a fully integrated monitoring, recording and communication device all-in-one.

Mexico

In Mexico we are helping protect and warn against attack and vandalism of trackside bungalows. Bungalows contain signal and communications computers that control switches, crossings and other controls, whilst relaying information to and from rail traffic control.

Our solution is a ballistic resistant security surveillance system that records live images 24/7. Integrated with our Solar Gateway capability, our solution integrates 3G communications delivering real time video monitoring with ‘audio challenge’ voice alarms, as well as high definition infrared and movement detection.

A LIDAR unit on the side of a train track

Obstacle detection in North America

We are using LIDAR to enhance security levels across a wide range of applications. This now positions our LIDAR technology in level crossings, rail and road interfaces where security for pedestrians and users is paramount.

In addition to developing country specific solutions with Network Rail level crossings in the UK and Deutsche Bahn level crossings in Germany, we are working with approval agencies, such as TUFSUD in Germany, to provide Cenelec SIL3 generic approvals for global applications for obstacle detections. LIDAR is also being trialled for rockfall and avalanche applications in the US.

Remote condition monitoring (RCM)

In the US, our long-life battery-powered RCM tilt and position sensors are attached to posts and swept along with an avalanche. When a change in position is detected, data is relayed wirelessly to a local gateway receiver. This launches an avalanche alert over the local train communications network, potentially saving lives and costs.