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Fiber Optic Monitoring for Railroad Infrastructure

Monitoring railways is crucial for safety, efficiency, and compliance. By detecting any potential problems or hazards, such as track defects or obstructions on the tracks, appropriate action can be taken to prevent accidents and ensure safe operations. Monitoring railways is often required to comply with regulations and standards. For example, rail operators may be required to monitor noise levels, emissions, or other environmental factors to ensure they comply with local or national regulations.

HAWK developed an intelligent system, the Praetorian Fiber Optic monitoring for railroad infrastructure, that can monitor any strain and stress change on events leading up to an eventual rail breakage event, as well as deformation of the track due to heat or loss of ground support. The Praetorian Fiber Optic Sensing System can detect the sound of locomotives, locate the position and speed of the train, and identify sound anomalies due to moderate track surface defects.

The optical fiber sensor can detect vibration (dynamic strain change) and static strain change (pressure) along a railway track, detecting intrusion events and their location on the track. Therefore, the central station or driver can be warned and take action to avoid an accident. It recently detected a group of elephants crossing a railway in India, saving the elephants' lives.

Contact us today to learn more about our railway fiber optic monitoring systems and how we can help your company.

Learn about the different applications we work in:

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Fiber Optic Sensing Can Determine

  • Sound / Vibration
  • Temperature / Vibration
  • Temperature Only
  • Strain Only
  • Temperature / Vibration / Strain / Sound
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Industries Served

HAWK provides leading pipeline leak detection solutions for a wide variety of industries. We manufacture our products in the U.S. and Australia, allowing us to hone in on our customer’s needs and provide specific solutions. The industries we serve include:

  • Minerals and Mining
  • Oil and Gas
  • Water and Wastewater
  • Agriculture
  • Forestry
  • Bulk Handling
  • Chemical and Petrochemical 
  • Power and Energy
  • Food and Beverage
  • Pulp and Paper
  • Aerospace
  • OEMs
  • And more

Principle of Operation

Using a combination of Rayleigh backscatter and time of flight, Praetorian determines the presence, location, intensity, and frequency of vibrations along an optical fiber in real-time.

Rayleigh backscatter responds to physical vibration imparted on the fiber by disturbances to the application. HAWK’s signal analysis software allows Praetorian to determine the most likely origin of the vibration quickly and report any nefarious signals to security personnel without notifying an intruder of their detection.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Rail deformation, crack detection, breakage, speed of train, position of train, rock falls, land slips, bridge/tunnel collapse, derailed rail car, track intrusion (animal/human), if safety crossing is functioning properly, wheel damage in early stages BEFORE it's too late.

Praetorian can be thought of as acting as a series of microphones along the fibre recording in real time. The system analyses enormous amounts of data using ultra-fast field-programmable gate array (FPGA) architecture to give real time feedback on the likely origin and type of disturbance. Utilizing proprietary pattern recognition software, Praetorian reduces the incidences of false positives normally associated with other Fibre Optic Sensors.

Praetorian’s fast processing speed and pulse rate allow it to detect minute interferences that may otherwise go unnoticed. This, in addition to Praetorian’s advanced frequency filtering and signal tracking software, make it the most advanced fibre optic interrogator on the market. Some examples of detectable activities include:

  • Detection and location of personnel operating around or in rail corridors
  • Detection and location of personnel movement in or around tunnels
  • Tracking of rolling stock, speed, position and direction
  • Level Crossing “All Clear” Detection
  • Identification of rolling stock, light vehicle and personnel
  • Protection of assets (copper cable and Fibre optic) from theft
  • Detection and location of vandals in siding yards
  • Detection and location of livestock on track

Praetorian also Geo-tags alarms and seamlessly integrates with existing supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and digital control systems (DCS) so security or surveillance teams are able to respond immediately.

Fiber optic sensor is weather independent without being compromised by rain, fog, paper, plastic bags, etc, and not disturbed by moisture, dust or smog.

Yes, we encourage it in fact! We have specially made systems that are shipped all over the world specifically for technology trials.

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USA: +1 (888) 429-5538
AU: +61 (0)3 9873 4750