Friday 20 Nov 2020
GoPro brainwave keeps passengers moving and railway workers safe
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.”
For more on how we maintain the track visit www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/looking-after-the-railway/track/
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About Network Rail
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.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.