Surveys got underway at the end of May in cooperation with NR and franchise operator Great Western Railway on passenger services from London Paddington to Bristol, south Wales and Penzance. Some dedicated locomotives are also in use due to the reduction in passenger services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The unit is mounted on the passenger train coupler or a set of buffers and can continue to operate at line speeds of up to 200km/h. Track profiles are collected using an integrated laser and imaging system that computes position and orientation from onboard GPS and inertial measurement systems.

Processed data will form a geodetic backbone which can be used for a range of routine maintenance applications, including topographical survey extraction, determination of heights and staggers on sections of electrified routes, vegetation analysis, ballast profiling and ballast volume validation. The surveys in south Wales will support the Rila survey of the Welsh network conducted by Fugro in 2019. The supplier is also conducting a complete survey of the Danish network under a contract awarded in 2019.

“We are delighted to be working with Fugro, whose innovative approach has revolutionised the way we receive information and data of railway infrastructure,” says Mr Chris Stanley, route asset data and analysis manager at NR. “Rila will help to 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.”