GoPro brainwave keeps passengers moving and railway workers safe: Go Pro crack crossing composite

Friday 20 Nov 2020

GoPro brainwave keeps passengers moving and railway workers safe

Region & Route:
North West & Central
| North West & Central: West Coast Mainline South

Passengers were kept safely on the move over a track fault thanks to innovative use of a GoPro camera by Network Rail workers.

Smart thinking by rail management engineer Steve Rand and section manager Scott Morrison, after spotting the cracked railway crossing on the West Coast main line south of Milton Keynes, prevented two days of delays to passengers.

It also brought safety benefits - removing the need for engineers having to make repeated trips on foot on to the live railway.

Scott and Steve identified the problem at 2pm on November 10. It wasn’t possible to fix it until the following night (November 11).

Cracked crossings require close monitoring to ensure they don’t get worse.

The bigger the crack in the steel rail gets the less possible it is to run trains.

Often this monitoring is done by railway staff physically walking on to the track to make checks after each train passes.

As the crack was in the middle of the busy main line, Steve and Scott would have had to get the local signaller to close the line after every train so they could make inspections in person.

This would in effect have shut the West Coast main line causing widespread disruption to passenger and freight services.

Steve and Scott’s ingenuity meant the GoPro acted like a CCTV camera and the crossing could be monitored without stopping trains from running and keeping them off the live railway line.

This kept passengers and freight on the move, albeit at reduced speeds, until the problem could be fixed.

Martin Ball, Route Infrastructure Engineer for WCS, said: “I’m really proud of Steve, Scott and the team. Rather than just thinking about fixing the problem, they thought how they could do the best thing for passengers. Their smart use of a GoPro kept them and their colleagues safe and kept passengers on the move. We’ll look to do this elsewhere in future.”

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

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