Northern previews LIDAR-fitted Class 150

23 January 2023
'Smart' train of the future capable of monitoring track and infrastructure demonstrated to industry representatives.

Northern has previewed some of the technology it is pioneering as part of its Intelligent Trains programme. On a special return trip from Manchester Victoria to Bradford Interchange recently, representatives from Network Rail, Jacobs, Atkins, Porterbrook, Angel and Eversholt boarded the Class 150 that was fitted with LIDAR horizon scanning cameras – the same used by NASA to map the surface of the moon.

The equipment consists of a radar dome, 180-degree thermal imaging software, acoustic monitors, a 'G-Shock Bogie' and an AI camera. Northern says that the technology is designed to make journeys by rail safer and more efficient, allowing it to monitor the performance of its trains in ‘real time’ and to, concurrently, provide information to Network Rail about track and other infrastructure.

LIDAR-fitted Class 150 unit Network Rail Northern

Rob Warnes, strategic development director at Northern, said: “We were delighted to bring together such an illustrious group of rail industry representatives for the inaugural trial of our Intelligent Trains ‘concept train’.

“Among the many benefits of this technology is the ability for ‘early diagnoses’ of engineering issues on both track and train which can be addressed as part of planned maintenance rather than having to react when things go wrong.”

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Related: Watch a video about Northern’s Intelligent Trains programme below:

Intelligent Trains - Brought to you by Northern in partnership with Network Rail from Northern Trains on Vimeo.

Northern’s ‘Intelligent Trains’ programme is being delivered in partnership with Network Rail, Belvoir Rail, Yellow Rail, DG8 and Modux. Not far from Manchester Victoria, where the Intelligent Trains concept train ‘special’ took place is the Manchester terminus of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the world's first steam-powered, intercity railway.


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