The utility that manages Belgium’s railway infrastructure, Infrabel, on Monday presented its first of its “online” fences on a 300-metre stretch in Jambes.
Aimed at reducing intrusions on railway lines and degradation to existing fences, the system will be gradually installed in other sensitive areas along the network.
The functioning of “online” fences was developed by a French company, and they are already in use in France.
The system is based on sensors placed at every 2.5 metres on the fence and a video camera placed on top of a fence post. When an intruder tries to climb or damage the fence, one or more sensors detect the vibration, triggering an alarm, and the camera focuses precisely on the affected area. In addition to the siren’s dissuasive aspect, operators in a control centre are able to view the situation in real time.
Where needed, a team from the national railway security service, Securail, or the police can be sent to the area.
The system has been tested since June 2019 in Jambes and has already proved its worth. Only five actual railway line crossings and two attempted ones have been registered, while no damage has been noted. In the early days, extra sensitivity of the sensors caused too many false alarms, but the problem has since been solved.
Infrabel now aims to roll out the technology to network’s other sensitive points: 53 such areas have been identified. However, the cost is heavy: about 100 euros per metre, not including the fence. The 600-metre installation in Jambes, 300 metres on either side, thus cost 60,000 euros.