Challenge 3: Systems Engineering & Integration (IoT)

Synopsis: Could an integrated systems approach and the Internet of Things revolutionise the operations which drive customers’ experience of using HS2?

Participants considered how data can be collected from various assets, using a range of detection systems, to allow real time informed decisions to be made.

Of particular interest were the following three areas:

Sweeper trains

Sweeper trains are currently used on railways for visual inspection of the line to check its integrity after night-time periods of non-passenger train services.

Travelling at significantly reduced speeds, they  impact the capacity of the network. With IoT technologies rapidly developing, how could the need for a sweeper train be removed completely whilst providing the levels of safety assurance needed prior to running passengers trains at 360km/h?

Slab track

Phase One (London to Birmingham) will be constructed using Slab Track  as opposed to traditional ballasted track. It is critical that any movement that effects the track geometry and the  earthworks and civil structures the slab track in built on are monitored and understood.

Sub-millimeter movement will need to be monitored and weather and seasonal changes, including water tables taken into account. What satellite and terrestrial based monitoring technology could be used and how would the collected data be turned into useable information that technicians and asset managers use?

Working at Height

To promote safety, health and well-being, HS2 will maximise promote all opportunities to separate people from the operational railway and minimise people from working at height or in confined spaces.

Many maintenance practices involve engineers needing to work at height, which increases the health and safety risks.  Examples of this are Tunnel, Viaduct, and Overhead Catenary System inspections.  Could UAVs and automated inspection techniques minimise or remove the need to work at heights? How would this process work in practice and integrate into wider HS2 systems?

Output: Outline process diagram or workflow

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