When the Dutch national railway agency, ProRail, needed to determine the position and geometry of 2,000 km of rail track and switches, Fugro’s unique airborne and train-mounted sensors provided a timely and affordable solution.
Regulations relating to railway safety are continuously being tightened with European legislation prohibiting survey operatives from accessing the track during operational periods.
This was reflected in the key requirements defined by ProRail, which stipulated: safer survey operations, using remote systems that eliminated the need for surveyors to be trackside; no track possessions, so that disruption to train services was limited; an affordable solution, rich in information to support a “collect once for multiple applications” strategy with a clear value proposition; guaranteed repeatability of survey data to enable effective monitoring; mapping of all 3D track alignments, switches, platforms and all assets along the railway corridor with an absolute accuracy of 15 mm; suitability of all survey data for automatic input to ProRail’s existing computing systems.
Using our innovative RILA and FLI-MAP technology, we delivered 2,000 km of highly accurate 3D information for the railway corridor with minimal disruption to normal train services.
The project involved surveying approximately 1,250 km of railway infrastructure each year. Measurements were taken during a 2-week campaign using three independent systems; RILA Track (track position and video); RILA 360 (infrastructure and assets); and FLI-MAP (helicopter LiDAR) sensors, to capture a full 3-dimensional image of the railway.
FLI-MAP was used to survey the full swath of the track and adjacent features whilst RILA Track and RILA 360 were used to scan the rail track itself and the surrounding environment. The RILA Track system measures absolute track position and geometry to engineering specification accuracy, simultaneously incorporating georeferenced video to record railway assets. Compact and transportable, it connects to the rear of a regular passenger train in less than two minutes and surveys the rail tracks at line speed (i.e. up to 160 km/h). The RILA 360 uses two rotating laser scanners that record 1 million survey points per second per scanner and provides an ultra-high density 3D point cloud of the surveyed corridor to analyse trackside assets and critical clearance measurements.
The final integrated datasets provided precise rail track geometry data to ensure that assets could be accurately identified, measured and monitored across the rail corridor. This unique approach enabled ProRail to generate highly accurate and up-to-date railway infrastructure information creating a reliable, true picture of the situation on the ground without disturbing normal passenger services on the busy Dutch rail network.
The information derived from the surveys will be utilised for a range of applications including track and signal design and upgrade, electrification, vegetation and slope analysis and asset management.
Without this approach, such a model would have been many times more costly and the turnaround time would have been unacceptable.
HOW WE CAN HELP YOU
We provide accurate, up-to-date information in a safer, faster more affordable way, with limited disruption to railway traffic, to help rail professionals worldwide design, build, upgrade and maintain railway infrastructure.