‘A solution perfectly suited to our environment’


After years of searching, Colas Rail – a specialist in traditional and high-speed track renewals – finally found the perfect solution to protect people working in close proximity to mobile machinery, “Blaxtair”. Here’s what our satisfied customer had to say.

We were looking for a way of creating a safer environment for employees working near the tampers, regulators and stabilisers used to construct and finalise track geometry,’ explains Hugues Rouby, Head of Operations for Colas Rail’s Major Works division. Unusually, these heavy, powerful and noisy machines have the ability to move in both directions along the track, which increases the risk of collision. The work space available for employees is restricted by other active lines or sometimes by vegetation, walls, tunnels and bridges. It was essential we had a reliable system for protecting pedestrians and alerting drivers.

The solutions we had tried before, hampered our work as they were unable to distinguish between people, objects and other machines.’ This approach is problematic when machines are often required to work less than 1 meter apart.

A promising technology

It was the Equipment Manager of Colas Rail’s Major Works division who first heard about Blaxtair. The innovative technology appeared to be exactly what he was looking for and he immediately wanted to trial it on the DGS 82, a 40-meter-long stabiliser/regulator! The perfect machine for a test. The DGS is long and not only does it have numerous blind spots, just like all track machinery, but it’s also controlled by just one operator, at night. He had to keep an eye on all the control screens and machine operations while at the same time making sure that the way is clear…

Improved safety and productivity

A few weeks later and Blaxtair has delivered everything it promised. ‘BLAXTAIR’s intelligent camera has demonstrated its ability to recognise people and distinguish them from objects. Not only has this allowed us to improve work-area safety, but it has also been a boost to productivity,’ confirmed Hugues Rouby. The solution was also adapted for the specific needs of Colas Rail. The warning alert needed to be louder in this noisy environment, so we installed a powerful audible alarm and an additional light signal both inside and outside the cabin. We also recalibrated the detection zones to exclude the parallel tracks, which pedestrian workers regularly use and where they are completely safe. All of this has convinced the Major Works division to plan the gradual implementation of Blaxtair across its entire fleet of machines.


11 May 2016