Working with Industry Partners Network Rail, Laing O’Rourke and Atkins, CSIC engaged with the Staffordshire Alliance at the early stages of this project to deploy novel fibre optic sensor (FOS) networks for use in short and long-term performance monitoring, delivering the most comprehensively instrumented new rail bridges in the UK.
Dr Niamh Gibbons, said: “The integration of sensors at the manufacturing and construction stages is a significant change in approach to bridge monitoring and is a key part of developing smarter infrastructure. It will allow us to monitor the evolution of our structures in huge detail over their entire lifetimes.”
This innovation represents a step-change in condition monitoring, which has the potential to influence maintenance practices and structural design codes. The technology can help redefine best practice, making structures of the future safer, more reliable, more efficient and more cost effective.
CSIC's Dr Liam Butler said: "This project has demonstrated that real and tangible innovations are possible when industry and academia work together. With the digitisation of the rail network and the far-reaching potential of the internet of things, self-sensing infrastructure which enables remote and real-time data-driven decision making will become critical components of future railways."
The Staffordshire Alliance of VolkerRail, Atkins, Laing O’Rourke and Network Rail has also been shortlisted for the Outstanding Projects category for the £250m Staffordshire Area Improvements Programme, which saw line-speed improvements from Stafford to Crewe, re-signalling around Stafford and the scheme’s largest project near Norton Bridge, which involved building six miles of new railway and 11 bridges in the Staffordshire countryside.
The winners will be announced at the UKRIA awards ceremony in London on 9 February.