Britain's Network Rail introduces scanner to check track clearances

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In a sample image from Network Rail's 3D scanning system, the system assesses a bridge for potential problems and provides color-coded date as well as detailed measurements.
Network Rail

EDINBURGH, Scotland — British rail network owner Network Rail is pioneering the use of track-based, three-dimensional scanners to check clearances before introducing new train fleets. The system, being used for the first time on UK railways in Scotland, was supplied by California-based Trimble Inc. It will ensure there is sufficient clearance so the new cars don’t hit trackside equipment or structures like tunnels. Previously, time-consuming manual measurement plus carefully organized test trains were required.

The Trimble GEDOScan system — operated by Network Rail’s track-geometry engineers — collects detailed information about the track and surrounding features such as bridges, parapets, and station platforms — quickly gathering precise, high-resolution data (accurate to within 5mm, just under a fifth of an inch) for use in track-clearance assessments. By using the new track scanner, mounted on a track trolley, there is less need for maintenance of way staff to be on the track, reducing the risk of accidents.

In a statement, Network Rail 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,” adding “This system is ideally suited to tunnel surveys where irregular construction can make it difficult to locate the main pinch points [that might snag new or larger trains]. The three-dimensional scan measures the full extent of a tunnel precisely in about a fifth of the time than it took previously.”

Several new train fleets are being introduced in Scotland over the next few months, with 70 new Hitachi built EMUs beginning to operate services on several recently electrified routes between Edinburgh and Glasgow, in 2018 and new intercity bi-mode and electric multiple units entering service on routes between Scotland and England from 2019.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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