Southeastern Railway has teamed up with Siemens Mobility and Eversholt Rail to develop a fully automated vehicle inspection (AVI) system at its Ramsgate train maintenance facility. The new technology will use a series of high-sensitivity cameras and optical laser sensors to collect and analyse data about the condition of Southeastern's Mainline fleet, including brake pads, collector shoes, wheel profiles, and wheel tread thickness.
It will also run underframe inspections to ensure everything is in good working order.
The AVI system is expected to improve train performance and deliver better journeys for customers in a number of ways including allowing Southeastern to run a more efficient on-demand maintenance program by not carrying our work that isn’t needed, and help reduce train downtime.
By only carrying out maintenance when it is needed, the system will help to reduce the amount of energy and resources that are used.
Mark Johnson, Southeastern's engineering director: "We're always looking at how we can deliver a more reliable and sustainable railway to give better journeys for our customers, and running a fully automated vehicle inspection system certainly helps us to do that."
The AVI system will help to improve safety by running assessments and allow Southeastern to identify any potential safety issues early on and take corrective action before they cause a problem.
John Butler, Siemens Mobility UKI head of customer service for rail infrastructure said: "We're happy to be partnering with Southeastern as they introduce this automatic vehicle inspection technology. The technology will provide detailed information on each train in the fleet which can then be used to reduce maintenance time in the depot, ensuring the trains can continue to run reliably."
Paul Sutherland, Eversholt Rail's client services director: "We're delighted to be working in partnership with Southeastern and Siemens Mobility to develop this automatic vehicle inspection technology for use on our fleets of trains. This further investment in our Southeastern fleets demonstrates the importance of providing an improved travelling experience for customers in the South East".
The system design is set to begin at the end of 2023, with construction beginning in mid-2024. The automated inspections are scheduled to get underway in 2025.
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