Two members of this year’s HMSG team taking part in the Engineering Education Scheme Wales were delighted to accept Network Rail’s offer to take them on a privileged tour of the NMT while it was travelling at 120 mph between Newbury and Paddington. The train, nicknamed “The Flying Banana” due to its yellow livery and high speed, is a moving laboratory and board room housed in five carriages, loaded to simulate a train full of passengers that travels across the UK assessing the condition of the rail track. The Development Vehicle captures photographs taken at 3 millimetre intervals by cameras fixed to the underside of the train and a system utilising image recognition looks out for defects such as missing clips. Lasers and ultrasound are used to make measurements of the track geometry and other features, such as overhead line height and stagger, and the track gauge, alignment and twist.
Lisa and Stephanie spent time in the Track Recording Systems vehicle viewing banks of screens which allow the team of three operators to view a range of system outputs, including track faults, train location, and radio signal strength. The experience was most informative and great fun, as well as a very good insight into modern engineering in practice.
Georgiana, Lisa and Stephanie have submitted their written report to the EESW judges and are now finalising a working model of their solution to the project brief set by Network Rail, “Identify and capture unsafe behaviour at level crossings”, in preparation for the Awards and Assessment Day due to take place at Celtic Manor on 16th March.