UK: Infrastructure manager Network Rail has provided electrification equipment maintenance crews with 30 cameras which can be used to identify overhead line defects without needing to turn off the power.

Supplied by Kongsberg Maritime Ltd, the cameras can be attached to the overhead cables, where they are held steady by two small stabilising arms on insulated poles. The camera can tilt so that images and video of the top and side of the wire can be seen, with high resolution images streamed to a laptop up to 100 m away. The camera can also measure the thickness of the contact wire to help gauge wear rates, find thin spots and plan renewals.

'The cameras give us a greater field of vision than the naked eye and this allows our teams to be less reactive and build this maintenance into our schedules, which will mean fewer delays and a better value railway', said Steve Featherstone, Director of Maintenance at Network Rail.