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Integration of Real-time Rail-track Monitoring with 4G LTE over Fibre (Advert Reference: RDF19/EE/MPEE/NG)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 25, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

In the UK rail industry, one of the key measure for train operators is public performance measure (PPM) which is defined as on time if it arrives within 5 minutes of the planned destination arrive time or 10 minutes for long distance travel. The UK national target is 92% for 2017/18 and in the recent report by the Office of Rail and Road, nationally the PPM is 88.5%. One of the contributing factor to PPM is the integrity of the rail-track, on-track monitoring and its maintenance. Therefore real-time rail-track monitoring will enable quicker response by the maintenance team, reduce the track’s downtime and increase its usage. Therefore this project proposed a solution using distributed fibre sensor, where one optical fibre cable is attached to the full distance of the track and capable of measuring the strain and temperature in real-time along the whole track.

Deploying a dedicated fibre system for rail-track monitoring is not feasible in existing rail-track due to its cost. However, if the same system can also act as Radio-over-Fibre system to ensure good 4G LTE mobile coverage along the rail-track, then such integrated system will have the economic feasibility to be deployed.

The aim of this project is to design an integrated real-time rail-track monitoring system with 4G LTE mobile over fibre to provide continuous monitoring and mobile coverage along the rail-track. The project will determine the limits of the integrated sensing and communication system for a rail-track deployment. This project will be done in collaboration with Network Rail and Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Royal Society Kan Tong Po International Fellowship KTPR1181005)

We are looking for candidate who has background in either Electrical & Electronic or Telecommunication or Applied Physics with interest in optical fibre and wireless communications, in addition to the requirements in the eligibility section.

The principal supervisor of this project is Wai Pang Ng.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF19/EE/MPEE/NG) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 25 January 2019
Start Date: 1 October 2019

Northumbria University is an equal opportunities provider and in welcoming applications for studentships from all sectors of the community we strongly encourage applications from women and under-represented groups.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Students Worldwide, and covers full fees and a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2018/19, this is £14,777 pa).


1. N. Lalam, W. P. Ng, X. Dai, Q. Wu, and Y. Q. Fu, "Performance Improvement of Brillouin Ring Laser based BOTDR System Employing a Wavelength Diversity Technique," Journal of Lightwave Technology, vol. PP, pp. 1-1, 2017.

2. G. Zhou, Q. Wu, R. Kumar, W. P. Ng, H. Liu, L. Niu, N. Lalam, X. Yuan, Y. Semenova, G. Farrell, J. Yuan, C. Yu, J. Zeng, G. Y. Tian, and Y. Q. Fu, "High Sensitivity Refractometer Based on Reflective Smf-Small Diameter No Core Fiber Structure," Sensors, vol. 17, p. 1415, 2017.

3. H. K. Al-Musawi, T. Cseh, J. Bohata, W. P. Ng, Z. Ghassemlooy, S. Zvanovec, E. Udvary, and P. Pesek, "Adaptation of Mode Filtering Technique in 4G-LTE Hybrid RoMMF-FSO for Last-mile Access Network," Journal of Lightwave Technology, vol. 35, pp. 1-1, 2017.

4. T. Kanesan, W. P. Ng, Z. Ghassemlooy, and C. Lu, "Investigation of Optical Modulators in Optimized Nonlinear Compensated LTE RoF System," Journal of Lightwave Technology, vol. 32, pp. 1944-1950, 2014.

5. W. P. Ng, T. Kanesan, Z. Ghassemlooy, and C. Lu, "Theoretical and Experimental Optimum System Design for LTE-RoF Over Varying Transmission Span and Identification of System Nonlinear Limit," IEEE Photonics
Journal, vol. 4, pp. 1560-1571, 2012.

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