Landslip detection


Veteran Member
28 Aug 2011
I was out for a walk today enjoying the sun and noticed this lineside equipment about a mile south of Arbroath:

IMG_20210717_152726.jpg(click to expand)

In case it's not clear what's shown in the image, there is a central unit solar-powered unit on the sloped trackside which appears to have a radio antenna, a pair of what I assume are IR lights and a pair of cameras, one facing in each direction up/down line and a number of retroreflectors placed about three or four meters apart all along the bank.

This almost ended being another "What is this (not datum plates)? thread :), but fortunately there was a sign: it's a landslip detection system.

I knew that such things existed, but it's the first time I've seen one "in the flesh" on the railway. How common are they, and are they intended to monitor the bank for long-term movement as a sign of an impending slip, or more to give in-the-moment alerting of a slip that has occurred.

If the latter, it would totally make my year if someone, sometime had realised that it's a digital equivalent of an old, analogue system and referred to it as an Anderson's Synthesiser.
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RailUK Forums


Veteran Member
7 Apr 2010
We had a discussion about this a few months ago, (actually last August!) I’ll try and find it…
also back in 2019 we discussed typical equipment:
there was a recent Rail Engineer article which touches on the subject here:
Last edited:

Annetts key

13 Feb 2021
West is best
From the Network Rail consultation document:
The Earthworks Monitoring Device (EMD) Project is a CP5 initiative that commenced in 2015.

The EMD is a form of remote condition monitoring that detects the movement of the landslides
/ earthworks towards the track. Currently EMD is deployed at 144 sites across the country to detect Earthworks failures.

In 2019 the project was subsumed into the remit of the II Programme. A pilot is now proposed where currently installed sites will be further vetted and assessed to ensure the technology is suitable for national rollout (rollout consultation currently planned for May 2021).

What is it?

EMDs are physical tilt sensors/monitors and supplementary equipment. These comprise of the following technology components across each site:

Each 110-yard site will comprise the following equipment unless specified:
Tilt Sensors x 40
Logger including GRPS Modem and Battery x 1
Solar Panel x 1
Steel Galvanised Mounting Pole x 1
Still image camera with Infrared Illuminator x 2

EMD is supported by a web-based application which will collate data sources and provide alerts and alarms when movement is identified on the tilt sensors/monitors.