Collaboration Successes at the 2023 Rail Business Awards

Last Thursday, The Hilton on Park Lane saw the 25th anniversary of the Rail Business Awards, a milestone event for one of the highly anticipated evenings within the Rail calendar. The Rail Business Awards are an annual opportunity to celebrate the depth and breadth of the industry’s successes, with this year’s event giving acknowledgement to the industry’s dedication to support new travel demands following on from the Covid-19 pandemic. One Big Circle attended the 2023 event as finalists within the ‘Innovation of the Year’, ‘Asset Management & Maintenance Excellence’, and ‘Safety & Security Excellence’ categories for three separate projects which have employed One Big Circle’s Automated Intelligent Video Review (AIVR) system for remote inspection capabilities.

Each category honoured a wide variety of projects, programmes, and campaigns delivered by the shortlisted finalists throughout 2022. Whilst competition was tough across the board, One Big Circle were successfully awarded both ‘Highly Commended’ for the ‘Low Adhesion Improvement Project’ and the ‘Innovation of the Year’ award for ‘Revolutionising Overhead Line Condition Monitoring’, both delivered alongside Network Rail and a range of supply chain partners.

The first accolade of the evening came when the judging panel awarded One Big Circle, Network Rail and SouthWestern Railway (SWR) with ‘Highly Commended’ for their entry to the ‘Asset Management & Maintenance Excellence’ category, using AIVR to support predictive maintenance against the safety risks of low adhesion issues on the track. The successful project was delivered in collaboration with Network Rail’s Research and Development team as part of wider measures taken to combat railhead contamination throughout the Salisbury area, in response to the Fisherton tunnel collision in October 2021.

The project employed AIVR Focus aboard SWR Class 158 and Class 159 vehicles, alongside a further deployment to Network Rail’s Wessex Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) and combined high-definition line-scanning cameras with integrated AIVR Connect devices to capture and transmit HD imagery of the track for easy review within the AIVR Platform and detection of contamination. This data and insight, combining human and computer analysis, significantly reduces the time that staff have to attend site to review conditions manually and reduces Boots on Ballast.

“The Salisbury Low Adhesion project is an instrumental example of how predictive maintenance operations are being introduced to reduce risk across the board” says Alison Smith, Senior Programme Manager for Network Rail’s Research, Development & Technology Team. “Supporting innovative solutions which pave the way for safer and more efficient processes within the industry is at the crux of everything the Research, Development & Technology team work to achieve, and we have every confidence that the further rollout of the line-scanning system will continue to reduce incidences of low adhesion”.

The winning project entry for ‘Innovation of the Year’ presented later in the evening utilises One Big Circle’s multi-award winning AIVR system to support Network Rail and Angel Trains, alongside DB ESG and Transmission Dynamics in conducting remote visual inspection of OLE. The project involves the deployment of Forward-Facing Video devices and Pantograph cameras to Angel Trains’ Class 390 Pendolino vehicle, alongside a deployment of AIVR Connect boxes, facilitating access to the full spectrum of video data collected from the Class 390 via the AIVR cloud-based platform, where data is transmitted and processed to be reviewed in a rapid and repeatable manner. To enhance further insight to be drawn from this data, One Big Circle are working collaboratively with Network Rail experts to design and refine Machine Learning models which can be integrated across the available imagery, to allow the automatic detection of defined points of interests to further inform remote OLE monitoring activities.

One Big Circle co-founder Emily Kent comments “One Big Circle work in continuous collaboration with Network Rail and the wider rail industry across a wide range of disciplines to ensure AIVR solutions are designed to meet their real-world challenges. Cooperation and partnership are the backbone of our product development and project delivery process, and we are delighted to have received the ‘Innovation of the Year’ award and the Highly Commended title for the ‘Asset Management & Maintenance Excellence’ award in collaboration with our fellow partners who have played an indispensable role in the testing and successful delivery of AIVR concepts to drive rail innovation”.