Axis IP cameras provide video monitoring at Matterhorn Gotthard railway
Editor / Provider: Axis Communications | Updated: 12/2/2013 | Article type: Infrastructure
The Matterhorn Gotthard Railway network (MGBahn) is one of the most scenic lines in Europe: over 144 kilometers long, the narrow-gauge track runs in narrow serpentine loops, passes through 33 tunnels and galleries, and over 126 bridges. The majority of passengers are tourists who come to the Valais canton of Switzerland to hike in summer and to ski in winter.
To make the journey more comfortable, in 2011 MGBahn requested a proposal for a stationary customer information system. Together with two partners, in 2012 general contractor Ruf Multimedia AG began implementing the project, which extended from the control system in the company's control room via voice and information panels, and display screens at the stations, to video surveillance. An important function was video surveillance using Axis network cameras.
Ruf Multimedia has collaborated with Axis Communications for many years. The company has installed its powerful network cameras on trains and stations throughout Europe and the world, therefore Axis was the logical choice as a reliable project partner.
In the 2012 pilot phase, Ruf installed video surveillance cameras at the first eight stations between Eyholz, Brig and Fiesch.
Axis network cameras form part of the passenger guidance system that Ruf Multimedia AG will be installing at all MGBahn stations by the end of 2014. For the manufacturer, Axis promises high image quality and night vision functions, as well as cameras are extremely robust and require little maintenance. In the first year, they have already proved ideal and survived the Swiss winter.
Groups of hikers crowd the platform at Fiesch in daylight. The station is one of a total of 44 on the Matterhorn Gotthard Railway, passing through the Swiss Alps and climbs to an altitude of over 3300 meters.
Fiesch was one of the first eight stations to be equipped with video surveillance in 2012: Two Axis network cameras monitor events and transmit to the control center, which responds immediately with an announcement about crowding, and schedules a special train.
Monitoring events at the stations, MGBahn ordered the new stationary passenger information system from Ruf Multimedia AG, who offers high performance technology and years of experience in the field of stationary and mobile passenger information systems.
Through an interface to the control system, the control center knows the location of the cars, and from this can calculate accurate departure times and delays. In this way, the trains can be scheduled as required and the vacationers in the mountains are kept informed in good time via monitors and loudspeaker announcements.
Immediately ready for use: Axis cameras on the pilot line
Video monitoring on the pilot line was first performed using AXIS P1344-E Network Cameras mounted on the catenary supports and signal masts. At some covered sites, Ruf also installed AXIS P3344-E Dome Network Cameras. The PoE function (Power over Ethernet) allows the cameras to automatically be powered via data cables so that the railway operator doesn't have the complexity and cost of network cables.
The cameras are perfect for outdoor use: temperature- regulated heating allows tolerate fluctuations between minus 40 and plus 70 degrees. In addition, they have special protection from dust, rain and snow.
Superior image quality both day and night
Another criterion in the decision was the high image quality of the Axis cameras and the possibility of switching between different resolutions. The cameras record locally at one megapixel in HDTV quality, but then transmit the live image to the control center in VGA resolution, which significantly reduces the data volume. Both AXIS P1344-E and AXIS P3344-E have a wide dynamic range (WDR) and offer day/night functionality. As a result, they deliver clear images around the clock, even under poor visibility conditions such as falling snow. The cameras are also ideal for dark areas of the station.
Elegant solution – and the next step with new Axis cameras
By 2014, Ruf will have equipped the remaining railway sections to Zermatt and Disentis with customer information systems. “To simplify the overview in the control center further, the new network cameras should all point in one direction”, says Schraven, explaining the concept. MGBahn will be relying on Axis P13 Series Cameras with up to 5 megapixel resolution, which covers very large areas of the station. Since these network cameras have multiview streaming, several detail areas of an image can be defined and zoomed. Video monitoring is also planned for the new MGBahn cars.