A new derailment detector has been fitted to UK freight wagons for the first time.
The detector, called the EDT101, is fitted to Davis Wagon Service's UK freight wagons and can recognise when a vehicle has derailed and immediately instigates an emergency brake application.
The UK freight sector continues to see vehicle derailments and a derailed wagon will sustain damage, and any delay in bringing a train to a halt once even a minor derailment has occurred can result in other wagons leaving the rails and sustaining damage. The railway infrastructure may also be destroyed for a significant distance.
The power of modern locomotives means that a driver may not immediately notice a derailment. The distance travelled by a derailed train before it is finally brought to a stop could put other services, members of the public and non-rail infrastructure at risk. These events can also damage the goods being transported, interrupt business and cause reputational harm to the railway, the freight operator, and the final customer.
Responding to this challenge, Knorr-Bremse has developed a derailment detector that can recognise the sudden change to a vehicle's ride in a derailment and immediately vent the main air brake pipe, ensuring a rapid, complete emergency brake application.
Once activated, a driver or crew member walking along the stopped train can quickly spot which unit has been triggered.
The detector has been fitted to a fleet of 255 wagons operated by Davis Wagon Services. The company's managing director, John Hall, said: "It is a fantastic achievement for Davis Wagon Services to be the first company in the UK to have installed these derailment detectors.”
This followed from the first trial deployment instigated by power generator, Drax Power Ltd, which fitted the EDT101 to 225 high-capacity freight wagons in May.
Knorr-Bremse's freight business manager, Joshua Jordan-Boddey, said: "We at Knorr-Bremse are happy to be working in collaboration with Davis Wagon Services alongside Drax to bring innovation to the UK freight market. The derailment detector is a perfect example of what we bring to the sector to improve safety and performance in the industry."
The wider freight community has also welcomed the project. Maggie Simpson OBE, director general of the Rail Freight Group, said: "The operation of freight services safely and reliably is vital for the industry and their role in the UK supply chain. The availability of a simple, fit, easy-to-fit and use device is a significant step.
“I am delighted to see the collaboration between the three businesses, enabling the first deployment of the derailment detectors. Whilst we all hope they will never be needed, it is reassuring to know that the drive for ever higher levels of safety is continuing to make a real difference for our network."
Photo Credit: Knorr- Bremse