Northern has introduced technology used by space agency NASA to its fleet of 345 trains.

The train company will be using a type of light detection and radar known as LIDAR, used to scan the horizon for infrastructure defects, environmental threats and maintenance issues.

From detecting loose bricks on tunnels or ‘bumps on the line’, it is hoped the technology will make the railway safer and more efficient.

The train-mounted cameras use the same light detection and radar (LIDAR) process as used by meteorologists to measure clouds and pollution.

LIDAR was famously used by NASA to map the surface of the moon.

Thermal imaging systems will also be deployed to monitor passenger load factors and provide accurate information to partners in the event of an emergency.

Northern is also aligning its on-board CCTV systems with British Transport Police to enable officers to tune-in to live, high-definition footage.

Roll-out of the new technology will begin later this July.

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