Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
4:00 AM 17th November 2021

A ‘Forse’ To Be Reckoned With Following More Tech Funding Success

Established supplier of data-driven solutions to the rail industry, Incremental, has once again secured funding from Innovate UK to bring its latest product, FORSE (Fibre Optic Railway Sensing Equipment), to fruition for a 12-month trial on the UK rail network.

Incremental’s existing and proven real time train identification, movement and tracking solution (AEGIS) will be integrated with fibre-optic acoustic sensing to create a new way to continually monitor the railway and detect track faults.

The fibre-optic acoustic analytics is a state-of-the-art solution provided by Austrian company, Sensonic, a trailblazer for the use of fibre-optic sensing in the global railway market. The development of FORSE will be a collaboration between York-based Incremental, Sensonic and Network Rail.

The 12-month trial will focus on detecting the early signs of defective rail joints, currently only detectable through manual inspection. FORSE combines Sensonics’ world-leading experience in using fibre-optic cables and location-fixing microphones to detect defects, with Incremental’s AEGIS system that provides data to track and identify all trains on the network. All the data will be delivered to Incremental’s bespoke dashboard that can be accessed remotely by all relevant stakeholders.

Daniel Lee-Bursnall, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Incremental, says: “Every year around £2bn and more than one million hours are spent walking the track to detect, locate and rectify faults. Fusing the train tracking and location data from AEGIS with fibre-optic noise sensing enables FORSE to monitor the condition of fixed points and track individual trains dynamically and accurately as they move around the network, acting as virtual track inspectors.

“We’re thrilled that once again Innovate UK has recognised our proven track record of delivering pioneering and effective solutions that will benefit the performance of the rail network for everyone. FORSE is a perfect example of how individual companies, with their own areas of expertise, can work together to create one solution that is a game-changer for the rail industry and its customers.”

Deep Desai, CCO at Sensonic is convinced that “the deployment of FORSE will dramatically reduce the need for speculative track inspections, increasing productivity by freeing maintenance staff to solve problems, rather than look for them, while improving lineside safety by removing boots from ballast.

“We’re excited about this new collaboration with Incremental and Network Rail to fast-track a game-changing solution focused on customer usability, efficiency and safety with our solution being part of this. With every train movement, the vibrations caused all along the infrastructure contains a plethora of insights. We are the leading company in the industry and our sole focus is on using our industry knowledge to augment the railway passenger experience; at Sensonic we have seen the power of our SonicTwin and continue to learn how the insights from the vibration digital twin can be used for upskilling staff and increasing the efficiency of the current track maintenance ecosystem.”

FORSE will also provide Network Rail with the ability to detect wheel flats, trespass incidents, livestock incidents and earthwork movements, remotely and efficiently.

Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas. It connects businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn ideas into commercially products, services and business growth.