Tilt meters daytime 1

UK: Network Rail’s Scotland route is testing surface-mounted earth movement meters at 26 sites.

The tilt meters are designed to detect movement in slopes, embankments and earthworks of more than 5°, and sound an alert via the GSM-R telecoms network to inform control staff of the potential danger. The sensors are powered by solar panels with a back-up battery. The meters feature two banks of wireless sensors typically spaced 2·5 m apart with a centrally mounted pole. They are also equipped with a data logger and cameras.

The successful implementation of the tilt meters should reduce the risk from landslips and improve the overall safety of the railway by detecting movement in slopes above or below the railway itself; an alert is planned to be issued within 2 min of detecting an anomaly. NR says it hopes the devices will enhance the safety of rail operations during poor weather.

‘In Scotland, we are increasing our use of new monitoring and surveillance technologies to mitigate risks’, said Alan Ross, director of engineering and asset management at NR. ‘Our weather is increasingly changeable and technology has provided us with tools to proactively monitor and model when and where extreme weather will occur and how it will impact on our infrastructure. The roll-out of tilt meters is another tool which enables us to better monitor the railway and improve safety across our network.’

NR expects to have installed tilt meters at 100 locations across Scotland by April 2024 as part of a £149m package of investment in network resilience.