Rail Industry Innovation Awards
Metron2 and Metron VIEW formed the core of a digital fuel gauge solution that was a short listed finalist at the Modern Railway Innovation Awards at the Fourth Friday Club Dinner held on Friday 26th June. The solution was awarded 'highly commended' in the small projects category.
This outstanding project involved monitoring fuel levels on the Virgin Trains East Coast high speed fleet.Built between 1976 and 1984, there is no fuel gauge visible to the driver. Fuel is consumed even when trains are not moving. Occasionally unexpected delays to accommodate incidents and works on the line, poor driving techniques and human error meant that there wasn’t enough fuel to complete a journey as expected. This resulted in delayed, disgruntled passengers, heavy costs to manage the situation, possibly involving emergency services to ensure safety and order, negative publicity and fines.
Powelectrics hardware and software and units were rolled out to all trains. Readings are sent every 5 minutes, so for the first time Virgin management could see fuel levels in near real time. They are alerted when fuel levels were below the level required to complete journeys and advise drivers to refuel according.
The princial speaker at the event was Clare Moriarty, Director General – Rail Executive at the Department for Transport. She explained how investment is currently made in innovation during the early years of a franchise but this investment needs to continue throughout it's whole life. To ensure this happens Train Operating Companies (TOC's) will now have to invest 1% of their revenue every year of the franchise on innovation. With the Metron products providing benefits not just financially, but also to customer safety and comfort, then we hope we can get further traction within this exciting sector.
The Metron2 has been superceded and is no longer available. Powelectrics now recommend using the Metron4. Metron4 does everything that Metron2 did and offers several advantages, which are described here.