Remote Condition Monitoring

Avalanche and Rockfall Remote Failure Detection

  • Posted by Adam Cousins

LIDAR technology remotely alerts controllers about the size and location of the rock obstruction, without an engineer ever needing to visit site and re-string a wire detector.

The Rockfall LIDAR system optimises both detection of hazardous obstacles on track as well as the throughput of trains on their journey through rockfall prone territory.

Avalanches of snow, mud and rock in high ground also present a risk to service that is difficult to monitor. The locations where these incidents occur are often remote, with no access to power. L.B. Foster’s long-life battery-powered RCM tilt and position sensors are now being trialled. Sensors are attached to posts that will be swept along with an avalanche.

When a change in their position is detected, data is relayed wirelessly to a local gateway receiver. This launches an avalanche alert over the local train communications network, potentially saving lives and costs.

These small, inexpensive sensors have the potential to be used over hundreds of miles of susceptible track, in the same way that the rockfall LIDAR can monitor hundreds of miles of cuttings and rock faces adjacent to train lines.

Train tunnel with LIDAR poles to the right edge of the train tracks
Rockfall LIDAR Units


  • 24/7/365 operation
  • remote detection - all information
  • no longer does a site engineer automatically have to journey to site

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