Published on: Wednesday, 26 October 2022
Last updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2022
Bespoke technology is helping Greater Anglia reduce delays by spotting potential issues with trees and plants on the railway.
Trees and branches blocking the line or obscuring signals, and falling leaves compressing into a slippery black-ice-like mulch can cause delays and inconvenience to rail passengers.
Greater Anglia is tackling this problem by using video recorded on its trains to see which areas are becoming potentially overgrown - recording main routes between London and Norwich and the whole of the West Anglia Mainline running from London via Cambridge.
The recordings are analysed using AI technology to highlight areas of problem vegetation.
Maps are then generated showing where issues have been found, allowing Network Rail engineers to pre-emptively tackle the areas before they cause delays, prioritising issues depending on their severity.
The project is a collaboration involving Network Rail, railway technology company CrossTech, and other partners.
Picture credit: Greater Anglia
Martin Beable, Greater Anglia’s engineering director, said: “The footage from our trains and our collaboration with Network Rail and CrossTech is key in giving an early alert to our colleagues at Network Rail so that any problematic areas where trees or other lineside vegetation are about to obscure anything are quickly picked up.
“We are delighted to be able to support Network Rail in adopting this novel technology because it means fewer delays for our trains and the busy routes we run on our network.”
Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “Managing vegetation is hugely important to us. If not managed well, trees and fallen leaves can pose a risk to the safe running of the railway and cause delays to trains.
“This new technology helps our teams quickly pinpoint exactly where lineside vegetation is likely to be an issue, so it can be cut back before it causes delays to passenger services.”