BR Business Systems has put together a package of three products, originally developed by different suppliers, which together provide a means of obtaining quickly detailed information on the location and condition of rail infrastructure.

BR Business Systems officially launched TuScan, RouteScan and Infrastructure Video Survey (IVS) on a demonstration run on Serco Railtest’s Iris test car at the Old Dalby test track in Nottinghamshire on July 16. IVS is an improved version of the prototype developed by Omnicom Engineering Ltd of York, which currently covers 3690 km of Railtrack’s network. The improved version has a location accuracy better than 0·5m.

Using high resolution digital video cameras, GPS, and a variety of other instruments, IVS builds up a digital record of heading, distance travelled, altitude and Ordnance Survey grid reference taken from a vehicle travelling at up to 96 km/h. The locations of bridges, tunnels, equipment boxes, AWS magnets, and station platforms are downloaded to a PC, which superimposes them onto an accurate map of the network.

This can be overlaid onto Ordnance Survey road centre line mapping, allowing IVS to be used for directing staff to works locations or emergency services to an incident, or relating the infrastructure to the general landscape.

TuScan was developed by German firm Spacetec to survey the walls of tunnels. It uses a laser shining onto a mirror rotating at 8400 to 12000rpm from a vehicle moving at 8 km/h, giving a scan every 10mm. A full 360° scan can be completed without staff having to walk along the track.

The data is ’unwrapped’ on a PC to give a flat image of the tunnel, or it can be reassembled to give a three-dimensional view. Physical features inside the tunnel such as cables and pipes appear clear and sharp, and being digital, the brightness can be increased to improve the clarity of features in dark areas.

Hot and cold spots beyond the tunnel lining can be identified using a second scanner for thermal images. This provides the means to check for water leakage, or the location of blocked up ventilation shafts. The scanning vehicle can run at up to 50 km/h for a lower resolution scan suitable for basic clearance data.

RouteScan, developed by BRBS in association with Waterhouse & Sons and Moss Systems Ltd, operates in a similar way to TuScan, but in the open air. It can record at line speed to give a fast, accurate measurement of lineside clearances, enabling gauging data to be given for a new train design, or for an existing train on a new route.

BR Business Systems, Derby, Great Britain

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