Single View of Trains to Improve Railway Safety
Crashes involving trains are more common than one might think. Just this month in Indonesia, a train crashed into a parked railcar killing 36 people and injuring many more. It’s still uncertain whether the crash was caused by human error or a failure with the signals on the trains.
Hochbahn is taking no chances. The company that serves 500,000 daily passengers in Hamburg, Germany is expanding its already-successful RFID implementation to improve railway safety.
As part of Hochbahn's existing system, 2.45 GHz RFID interrogators are mounted on railroad ties and two MarkTag HDS S1456 semi-passive tags are placed on the bottom of each railcar. When a tag passes over a reader, it transmits an ID number. The collected data is then used to notify an operations control center – in this case it’s operated by Funkwerk IT – telling it which trains passed where, at what time and headed in which direction. It seems as though this type of information would be just what we need to prevent accidents and crashes. Yet Hamburg is still enhancing its system, presumably because the ROI from an expanded RFID project is clear and demonstrable. Or to put it more simply, the benefits of RFID far outweigh the costs.
The intent of the RFID expansion is to provide a single view of the trains and their movement. The latest project involves GEN4HD Track Readers made by TagMaster which will be installed on the railway’s new U4 line. TagMaster has previously supplied RFID equipment to Hamburg for lines U2 and U3. The new RFID tags will be seamlessly integrated with the existing solution, making the desired, single view capability easier to attain.
This type of RFID application also yields other business benefits aside from safer conditions for travelers. By being able to better manage and predict train schedules, the technology can also help support revenue growth and reduce costs through more efficient operations. Knowing RFID was involved, would you expect anything less?