How do you check a new train will fit through a tunnel? Answer: you use a 3D scanner to provide an accurate model.
That’s exactly what Network Rail Scotland have been doing, using the Trimble GEDO Scan system.
With new fleets of trains arriving onto Scotland’s railway 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 technology is being operated by Network Rail’s team of absolute track geometry engineers, and has been deployed to collect detailed information about the track and surrounding features such as bridges, parapets, and platforms.
The precise, high-resolution data gathered in this process is being used for track clearance assessments on structures and tunnels.
The new system 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.
Graham Hutchison, absolute track geometry engineer with Network Rail in Scotland said: “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.
Graham added: “It can also be used for proactive monitoring to inform maintenance requirements, as well as to better predict and prevent faults and to reduce disruption for passengers.”