A GROUP of young engineers has created technology that allows trains to grip track better in adverse conditions.
Known as Lenz Labs, the aim is to provide predictable traction control using electromagnetic techniques to help trains run safely and on time – no matter what the weather or track conditions may be. It could reduce delays caused by slipping by up to 30% and increase braking force by up to 9%.
Lenz Labs has created a ‘traction hub’ that uses electromagnetic energy to increase effective adhesion between wheels and track. It is a hardware solution which can be retrofitted to wheels, although where and how many has yet to be determined. It can also include sensors that can collect data on the condition of the track, highlighting potential problems on stretches of railway.
This analytic service could alert operators to track deficiencies and enable network managers to make better informed decisions about sorting out problems on the network.
The Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway has hosted a range of innovative technologies. A Mk 3 Driving Van Trailer was brought to Bo’ness in 2017, and this vehicle, now known as a Class 19, has been given to the Lenz Labs group. With a repaint and the running number 19001, the rear bogie has been fitted with the braking device.
Key players in the Lenz Labs team of five are Chief Executive Hamish Geddes, Chief Technical Officer Daniel Carbonell and Chief Commercial Officer Carolina Toczycka. In 2021, they were able to raise £180,000 in funding for their ‘traction hub’.