Network Rail Scotland is harnessing state-of-the-art technology to model the railway infrastructure in preparation for the arrival of new trains.
In the near future, Scotland’s railways will benefit from the brand new class 365s, class 385s and LNR Azuma trains; in order to ensure they can run efficiently on the network, it is vital that railway infrastructure is sound and ready for the arrival of new trains.
In addition to this, there are continuing demands from freight operators who need to use the lines.
This means that ensuring they fit on existing lines is both crucial and time critical.
To make sure freight and new trains can arrive seamlessly onto the railways, Network Rail Scotland is using a track based three-dimensional scanner.
This allows the rail operator to precisely model the railway infrastructure.
Introduced in April, Network Rail Scotland is already reaping the rewards of the Trimble GEDOScan system, which is delivering higher quality scanning and modelling much more precisely than ever before, achieving a relative accuracy of less than 5mm.
The system collects detailed information about the track and surrounding features including bridges, platforms and parapets.
By gathering this information about rail infrastructure in a safe manner, precise, high resolution data is quickly gathered for use in exercises such as track clearance assessments on structures and tunnels.
Because of the technology, rail engineers spend much less time on the track, as the detailed data is collected without them, increasing health and safety.
And Graham Hutchison, absolute track geometry engineer with Network Rail Scotland, explained the system makes the track “safer and more efficient.”
He said: “Three dimensional scanning provides more and more detailed information in a shorter time which reduces the need to be on track; making it safer as well as more efficient.
“The three-dimensional scan measures the full extent of a tunnel precisely in about a fifth of the time than it took previously.”