Wednesday 5 Sep 2018
Three-dimensional scan system puts new train fleets on track
- Region & Route:
Network Rail Scotland has for the first time utilised a track based three-dimensional scanner to precisely model the railway infrastructure ahead of the arrival of new trains onto the network.
With new fleets of trains arriving onto Scotland’s rail way, including the LNER Azuma, class 365s and class 385s, and the growing demands of freight operators, the task of making sure they actually fit on existing lines has never been more crucial or time critical.
The Trimble GEDOScan system – operated by Network Rail’s team of absolute track geometry (ATG) engineers – has been deployed to collect detailed information about the track and surrounding features such as bridges, parapets, and platforms - quickly gathering precise, high-resolution data for use in track clearance assessments on structures and tunnels.
The new system was introduced in April and is already delivering higher quality scanning and modelling quicker and more precisely than before with a relative accuracy of less than 5mm. It also increases safety for rail engineers who now need to spend less time on the track to gather much more detailed data.
The scanning system has been used across the network to carry out general surveys for maintenance and monitoring but also to assess the capability and suitability of specific routes to carry certain types of rolling stock – such as to review the possibility of introducing class 158 rolling stock on the West Highland Line and ahead of the introduction of High Speed Trains (HSTs) on the network between Scotland’s seven cities.
Surveys have also been carried out to assess the network for future freight capacity growth such as at Mossgiel tunnel near Kilmarnock (pictured), Drumlanrig, Blochairn and Duke St tunnels as the railway prepares for larger and longer freight trains on the network and the benefits this could bring in terms of reducing emissions and removing vehicles from congested roads.
Graham Hutchison, absolute track geometry engineer with Network Rail in Scotland said: “Three dimensional scanning provides more, and more detailed information in a shorter time which reduces the need to be on the track; making it safer as well as more efficient.
“This system is ideally suited to tunnel surveys where irregular construction can make it difficult to locate the main pinch points. The three-dimensional scan measures the full extent of a tunnel precisely in about a fifth of the time than it took previously.
“It can also be used for proactive monitoring to inform maintenance requirements and to better predict and prevent faults and to reduce disruption for passengers.”
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.