• Clients:

    Abellio Greater Anglia

  • Category:

    PassengerThought Leadership

  • Services:

    Asset Optimisation

  • Web:


Digital Insight into Sander Usage

Rail sand box monitoring

An entirely new application 

Our bigger self set challenge was to engineer a greener sander solution for trains.  In the meantime, the team at Transportise have utilised industrial wireless IoT and the latest RADAR technology to produce digital insight to sander, usage, availability and condition.  So while, we can’t control the amount of sand deposited on tracks, we can certainly make the process much more efficient.

IoT enabled radar sand level monitoring

It is not uncommon for new trains to come with a 5 year maintenance agreement where all activities are monitored by the train builder, with some exceptions.  These are often fluids replacement (water, fuel), solids (sand) and CET emptying.  Algorithms typically predict the level of sand in the Sandboxes.

Where the existing system could be improved

It was evident that improvements could be made as variables such as sand level during reset and differing sand usage between axles during wheel slip and slide, meant that the predicted sand level was simply inaccurate.

By introducing Remote Condition Monitoring (RCM), near time remote monitoring  (wireless systems record near time) would provide not just accurate insight into usage, but also geographical location, enabling a targeted maintenance approach.  Only maintaining Sandboxes when necessary eliminates working trackside to make manual checks.  This puts staff safety first. 

The scope of the new application

The Urban.io sensor operates independently of the train’s communication and control and doesn’t require WiFi or a wireless LAN.  Power is all that is needed to feed the Gateway.  The live data can be fed into a customised dashboard or into the train’s reporting systems.  

An operator at the depot is able to view the train sand level in every Sandbox with a sensor.  If predetermined levels are reached, there is an alert and report by exception.

The scope then broadens over time as historical records enable predictive behaviours.  This means better material planning and a better understanding of train behaviour during traction and braking at specific points on the operating route.

How it works

This infographic shows the full turnkey solution, that fits within an existing legacy systems as it is designed to do. Other potential sensors are shown providing insights for the whole ops team from one central source. 

Bringing fringe assets within reach

Transportise’s Vision is to offer a uniform price and technology to connect any ‘thing’ anywhere in the UK rail network regardless of fleet, onboard connectivity or age.  

The Sandbox solution is just one example of how the Tranportise team utilised its own and its partners’ expertise to create a solution that had previously not existed, replacing a manual method with a highly optimised alternative.