Thermal Forward Facing Solution
RWE Power Mining Trains

The RWE Power AG is one of the largest producers of energy from coal. At the site near Cologne RWE has an own rail network with more than 200 kilometers of tracks. 23 electric locomotives and more than 250 wagons distribute coal to 4 power plants from 3 large coal mines. 30% of Germany’s electricity comes from RWE Power AG, thereof 40% from coal. 

For the transport from the mining area to the power plants, 1 electric locomotive and up to 12 wagons loading a maximum of 2000 tons is used. A train reaches a total length of 200 meters and is runs at a maximum of 50 kilometers per hour.

Initial situation

To prevent collisions with vehicles and persons on the track, the trains have until now been equipped with a horn and a signal light. In addition, guards on foot were observing the rail tracks and crossings. From their vantage point the drives are not able to see the area in front of the train. These safety measures have not been able to entirely prevent collisions and fatal accidents.



r2p's solution

As a leading supplier of mobile video surveillance systems, r2p received the order to design a rugged video application for RWE. The system must provide live images of the situation ahead of the train to the driver by day, by night and in poor weather conditions. The live video feeds are transmitted on an existing 2-wire cable that runs the length of the train.




The system consists of the following components:

  • Optical camera with 12mm lenses and Wide-dynamic-range module
  • Thermal camera with 12mm lenses
  • Signal multiplexer for 2-wire transmission
  • Up to four 8” driver control monitors
  • Recorder
Signal Multiplexer

The Signal multiplexer is used to modulate an Ethernet connection onto a 2-wire bus using existing cables. This results in many other potential applications. For example, the use of video technology, infotainment, passenger counting, LCD/TFT displays, etc. in rail cars.

The Signal multiplexer uses the available car wiring for data transmission. A tap-proof data transfer is ensured by a 128-bit AES encryption. The bandwidth of the transmission line is constantly calculated to ensure optimal data throughput. Even when the cable length changes when vehicles are coupled, the automatically readjusts to yield the best possible data throughput. A manual adjustment or configuration after the first commissioning is not necessary.



Thermal Camera


The TC is a powerful thermal night vision camera that lets you see road hazards clearly in total darkness, detecting and alerting you to nearby obstacles. Headlights usually only let you see about 450’ straight ahead, but r2p TC detects heat enabling the driver to see up to four times further. Seeing further provides more time to react. With the solution, the driver can see pedestrians, cars, animals, and virtually any other obstacles from further away.