Brussels, 26 Jul 2005
The EUREKA project 'Logchain Translog Safety' has developed a satellite-based system for monitoring the transportation of hazardous rail freight between Europe and Asia.
Geostationary and orbiting satellites that are combined to form a single antenna ensure a fast response mechanism during the transportation of potentially hazardous materials. This clearly makes transporting goods by rail safer and more efficient than ever before. The monitoring centre itself can be situated anywhere, according to need.
'Our satellite-based communication system works worldwide and does not need terrestrial GSM communication, which is not always available along railway lines, especially in eastern countries such as Ukraine or Russia, and in the East-West traffic corridors,' said Professor Peter Meinke, development director at the German project partner Ingenieurgesellschaft für Angewandte Technologie.
The three other project partners are all from Poland, and comprise two research institutes and one university.
Trade between Asia and Europe is growing rapidly, increasing the demand for efficient transportation of both raw materials and finished products in bulk. Rail transport is already considered efficient and environmentally friendly, but facilitating the collection of data and creating a database on consignments, routes, threats, irregularities and damage is an attractive prospect for exporters.
The status of railway vehicles is gathered by sensors, which then transfer the data to the transceiver, and via satellite to the control centre. 'If there is an accident, such as a derailment, the sensors automatically alert the control centre. The position of the train is given so that a report can be sent immediately to the civil protection services in the area, reporting the accident and the nature of the potential hazard,' explains Professor Meinke. This is made possible thanks to the blanket coverage provided by the combination of geostationary and orbiting satellites, as well as the switching technology developed by the project partners.
The partners have successfully demonstrated the system to railway authorities, and the Polish Railway Authority has already agreed to adopt it.
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