"Fibre optic sensor technology in the railway sector”

ÖVG Conference

On 21 October 2020, the Austrian Transport Science Society (ÖVG) invited to a conference at which current findings on the use of "Fibre optic sensor technology in railways" were presented.

Due to the corona pandemic, only a few speakers met directly in Vienna, others contributed via video calls. The vast majority of the audience also took part in the event virtually.

Focus on train tracking and route monitoring

The focus was on DAS-based solutions for train tracking and monitoring of track components. 

Manfred Stättner used the "Greenlight II" project to present the status of researches on various possibilities for detecting the position of trains. Specific advantages of DAS-based solutions have already emerged in ongoing tests. Compared to other solutions, these include their independence from mobile phone networks. 

Michael Brauner and Günther Neunteufel reported on their experiences with DAS in track monitoring in the fields of geotechnics and natural hazard management. Together with NBG FOSA GmbH, a detection and warning system against rock and block impact based on DAS was developed and implemented, which can detect impacts near the track with an accuracy of 10 m. 

Klaus Leithner summarised the results of a research project on short-circuit localisation in the 15kV overhead line network of the ÖBB. Together with Frauscher Sensonic GmbH, ÖBB INFRA investigated how short-circuits can be localised with optical fibres laid parallel to the track. After two years of research and the development of an evaluation algorithm, it was possible for the first time on the Wels-Passau test track to automatically localise a short circuit with an optical fibre.

In further presentations, topics such as sensor fusion, train length determination, passenger warning, FOS in tunnel construction or cable temperature monitoring were discussed. The lectures at a glance: 

  • Sensor fusion of energy-autonomous point sensors with Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) systems along the sensor fibre (Bernd Drapp)
  • Optic sensing in the railway sector - Track more with less (Rene Zeilinger)
  • DAS for dispositive train location, train length determination, passenger warning and information (Max Schubert, Andy Lämmerhirt)
  • Train location determination with DAS in the context of the Greenlight II project (Manfred Stättner)
  • FOS in infrastructure monitoring of the railway infrastructure (Ivan Vidovic)
  • Experience with DAS in route monitoring in the fields of geotechnics and natural hazard management (Michael Brauner, Günther Neunteufel)
  • Fibre optic sensor technology in tunnel construction (Werner Lienhart)
  • Fire protection in the centre on the mountain and cable temperature monitoring in the main station Linz with Distributed Temperature Sensing (Wolfgang Lahner)
  • Research project KS-Localisation in the 15kV overhead line network of ÖBB with DAS (Klaus Leithner)

ÖVG page (German only)

DI Klaus Leithner (ÖBB) opened the conference and guided through the programme.


Some of the lectures were held on-site (here: Rene Zeilinger, Sensonic).


Further speakers were added via live stream (here: Max Schubert, Andy Lämmerhirt, DB).