HS2

03.08.18

First-ever drone flight over ‘trespass hotspot’ will send images directly to BTP

A Network Rail drone will be making its very first flight over the south western rail route today to survey a trespass hotspot in order to record any incidences of people risking their lives on the tracks, with images set to be passed onto the British Transport Police.

The drone will be flying up to 120m high at speeds of up to 50mph. Images taken are displayed on the operator’s screen and recorded directly to a USB drive so that they can immediately be transferred to police and other relevant authorities.

Mobile incident officer Peter Atkins, who will be operating the flight, is the very first trained railway drone pilot on the route from Waterloo station to the south coast after completing extensive qualification training with Essex Police.

“I’m delighted to be operating the first-ever railway drone flight in the region,” he commented. “The training was very thorough and often challenging, but completely worth the effort for the benefits this technology will bring.

“I’m really looking forward to using this drone to improve safety and journeys for passengers across the route.”

Drone technology is also being used to inspect large structures as part of a trial on the London North Eastern and East Midlands route – which does away with the need to close the railway and reduces the number of times engineers are sent out to track.

The equipment boasts a high-tech, heat-sensitive 4k camera that can spot changes in temperature, thus helping identify people and potential infrastructure damages.

Andy Mellors, South Western Railway managing director, said he welcomes any initiative that can improve safety and performance.

“Trespassing on the railway network can have tragic consequences and causes unnecessary delays. I hope that the deployment of this new technology will discourage trespassing and reduce delays for passengers,” he added.

Top image c. RUAS, www.ruas.co.uk

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