Network Rail Scotland uses 3D scanner for railway modelling
Network Rail Scotland has begun using a track-based three-dimensional scanner to model the railway infrastructure ahead of the arrival of new trains onto the network.
With new fleets of trains arriving onto Scotland’s railway, including the LNER Azuma, class 365s and class 385s, and the growing demands of freight operators, Network Rail wants to make sure they fit on existing lines.
Network Rail started using the Trimble GEDO Scan system to collect detailed information about the track and surrounding features such as bridges, parapets, and platforms. The system gathers precise, high-resolution data, which in turns can be used in track clearance assessments on structures and tunnels. The data has a relative accuracy of less than 5 millimetres. Using the system also means that rail engineers don’t have to spend as much time on the track to gather detailed data, which increases safety.
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. Surveys have also been carried out to assess the network for future freight capacity growth as the railway prepares for larger and longer freight trains on the network.
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.”