Fugro to survey Great Western main line using RILA technology

Fugro’s train-based RILA technology is seen here attached to the rear of a Class 150 passenger train at St Ives, Cornwall.

Leading geo-data specialist Fugro has won a contract to conduct a survey of a major part of Network Rail’s Western route using its unique rail infrastructure alignment acquisition system (RILA).

Under this contract, Fugro will collect nearly 1,000 route miles of RILA data, providing asset and track position information that will be used by Network Rail to support a gauging programme and validation of track position. The RILA survey will capture an estimated 97 per cent of all track and lineside structures to provide an holistic and accurate view of the Western network.

The processed data will form a geodetic backbone that can be used for a range of route maintenance applications, including topographical survey extraction, determination of heights and staggers on sections of electrified routes, vegetation analysis, ballast profiling and ballast volume validation.

Working with Network Rail’s Western route team and Great Western Railway, the RILA train-borne survey technology will be deployed on passenger services operating throughout south-west England. This is the normal mode of operation, using a passenger train in service allows for high-speed running and doesn’t disrupt services on the busy railway by requiring a dedicated measurement train.

However, as the number of passenger services is currently reduced in some areas due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, some parts of the survey will be carried out with the RILA unit attached to a dedicated locomotive rather than an in-service passenger train. Fugro has worked closely with Network Rail and Freightliner to modify procedures and agree work methods that incorporate social distancing and safeguard all personnel.

Chris Stanley, Network Rail.

Network Rail route asset data and analysis manager Chris Stanley said: “We are delighted to be working with Fugro, whose innovative approach has revolutionised the way we receive information and data of railway infrastructure.

“RILA will help reduce the amount of time we need to work on the track, reducing delays for passengers and freight, while also improving the safety of the railway, as engineers spend less time on track carrying out survey works.”

Survey on the routes will start at the end of May and includes the Great Western main line from London Paddington to Bristol, onwards to Penzance and into South Wales, linking with the RILA survey of the Welsh network performed by Fugro in 2019.

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