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OptRail Project and TWI’s Rail Track Risk Assessment Model

Tue, 11 February, 2020

TWI developed a Rail Track Risk Assessment model within the Innovate UK funded OptRail project that successfully completed in December 2019.

The overarching aim of the project was to support railway track reliability and availability by monitoring the track health in real time using Fiber Bragg grating sensors.

The OptRail project consortium comprised of rcm2 Limited, TWI, Brunel University London, Yeltech Limited and Surrey Advanced Control Limited.

The project consortia members, including the Innovate UK Project monitoring Officer (MO), are shown below (Figure 1) during the final project review meeting in Surrey.

The Rail Track Risk Assessment Model, by TWI develops a risk profile for various track segments based on their susceptibility to failure and the consequence of failure (Figures 2 and 3).

The susceptibility of failure is determined using Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques on data including defects data, annual load, traffic density, speed, etc.

The consequence of failure is determined by ‘Minimum Action Code’ (MAC) and can be customised to the end-user requirements.

OptRail Project key achievements:

1) Successful completion of Field Trial at Poplar, on Docklands Light Railway, to test both the FBG Strain Sensors and fibre optic accelerometer for the monitoring of voids in a live railway environment.

2) Development of a combined sensor housing / clamp to securely mount a fibre-optic accelerometer to a rail crossing.

3) Completion of Risk Model and its demonstration on Hither Green data.

4) Demonstration of TWI Risk Model and gaining valuable feedback from Network Rail personnel.


The OptRail project started in April 2018 and has received funding from Innovate UK under Ref. No. 104246. For more information, please go to:

Figure 1. Project consortia members
Figure 1. Project consortia members
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Figure 3.
Figure 3.

For more information please email: