Railway Monitoring and Safety: 5 Cases from Around the World

Leica Railway Monitoring

Railway Monitoring and Safety: 5 Cases from Around the World

Authors: Megan Hansen, Lidija Spiranec, Steve Thurgood

 

Earth-shaking excavations. Avalanche and flood prone regions. Heavy trains passing along well-worn tracks. What do these have in common? They all threaten the structural stability of rails and railway infrastructure. Across the world, operators depend on monitoring to detect the impacts of these and other threats to railways, enabling the safe, continuous train transit.


Deformation monitoring helps identify vulnerable areas in the infrastructure by measuring track geometry and other relevant parameters at defined intervals to detect movements that could cause damage. When analysed, these measurements provide crucial data allowing operators and engineers to make informed decisions about operation, maintenance, or repairs. Therefore, by monitoring assets, owners can save money and reduce risk.

Optimal railway monitoring systems enable accurate, comprehensive data collection customised to each project’s requirements and environment. Leica Geosystems total monitoring solutions provide these features and more with hybrid technologies including geodetic and geotechnical sensors, reliable data communication devices, and powerful monitoring software supporting rapid configuration, comprehensive analysis, custom reporting, and notifications.

This blog explains the top 5 benefits of our total monitoring solutions using cases from across the world to demonstrate individualised systems and their impacts on safe railway operation:

  1. Customised monitoring solutions featuring best-in class instruments
  2. Real-time, automated monitoring increases safety and minimises disruptions
  3. Hybrid monitoring techniques with a range of sensors
  4. Monitoring software with a Railway Template for fast configuration, centralised analysis, and customised reporting 
  5. Securing continuity with LOC8  

 

1. Customised monitoring solutions featuring best-in class instruments 

Railway monitoring solution makes continued rail transport possible amidst major construction in Australia

Railway monitoring solution makes continued rail transport possible amidst major construction in Australia 

Each railway monitoring project is distinct – including the reasons why monitoring is required, what needs to be measured, where the monitoring zone is and the frequency with which data must be collected and analysed. These parameters define which techniques and technologies will provide the optimal monitoring solution.

Leica Geosystems total monitoring solutions enable flexibility with a range of high-accuracy and best-in class geodetic measurement instruments, supplemented by 3rd party geotechnical and environmental sensors for comprehensive manual and automated data collection.

From digital levels to robotic total stations, Leica Geosystems is a central source for geodetic equipment essential to collecting railway measurement data and calculating parameters, like twist, cant, and alignment of the rail tracks, and structural clearances/parameters for surrounding infrastructure, like bridges, tunnels, platforms, and more.

The Leica TM60 monitoring total station, for example, is a self-learning, automated total station designed for monitoring that fulfils the most demanding 3D measurement requirements. Fast measurement speeds and millimetre-level accuracy at long distances make it effective for large projects in busy areas, including monitoring the active lines of Australia’s Sydney Metro Central Station throughout an extensive infrastructure development project.

In this case, monitoring helped make possible the safe daily transport of over 100,000 passengers during excavations and construction below and around operational lines. Leica automated monitoring total stations measured thousands of prisms on the tracks and platforms, allowing monitoring service providers to collect vast amounts of data in real time, support construction, and protect assets.

 2. Real-time, automated monitoring increases safety and minimises disruptions 

Scanning total station enables continuous measurements so Dublin’s Light Rail system can run uninterrupted

Scanning total station enables continuous measurements so Ireland’s Light Rail system can run uninterrupted 

For railway operators, it is important that railway services continue safely with as few interruptions as possible during adjacent construction. Considering many development projects run for years, effective monitoring systems provide a way to continuously collect deformation data with the least amount of manual work on the track.

Several aspects of the Leica Geosystems monitoring solution facilitate this approach. For automated monitoring setups, self-learning, robotic total stations like the Leica TM60 and Leica MS60 MultiStation automatically find and learn the prisms they are meant to measure, making setup time faster.

Leica Geosystems robotic total stations have a robust build quality that allows instruments to run autonomously longer without needing maintenance and cameras that give real-time, remote glimpses into site conditions. Integrated into the intuitive and efficient overall workflow, these features reduce time on and around the track for monitoring service providers, removing them from this dangerous environment and minimising disruptive work.

The MS60 also enables monitoring where prisms cannot be installed by adding 3D laser scanning to automated monitoring systems for continuous and non-intrusive data collection. For example, monitoring Dublin’s Luas light rail system during construction required a system that could prove rail stability and run continuously without causing service interruptions.

Since the trams operate on rails embedded in the road surface, prisms could not be installed on the tracks without creating obstructions or being destroyed. Therefore, measurements were captured using 3D laser scans with the MS60. Small area ‘patch’ scans of the track recorded thousands of points per second within the defined scanning area and monitoring software compared the data against reference measurements to identify deformations.

Automated measurements and continuous data collection are further supported by the Leica ComBox60 for on-site communication and power management and Leica GeoMoS Edge software providing uninterrupted data logging. The robust construction, simple configuration, and one button operation make monitoring easier.


3. Hybrid monitoring techniques with a range of sensors  

Bridge and tunnel construction near Paris necessitate railway and platform monitoring with hybrid methods for real-time data collection and maximum safety

Bridge and tunnel construction in France necessitate railway and platform monitoring with hybrid methods for real-time data collection and maximum safety 

Hybrid monitoring systems provide data redundancy through independent measurement technologies. Combined technologies augment data capture to measure different yet complementary parameters, enhancing the understanding of deformation. When geotechnical sensors detect movements, the data can be validated by geodetic measurements for certainty, and vice versa.

Leica Geosystems monitoring solutions integrate a variety of geotechnical sensors to supplement geodetic data, including the range of WiSenMeshWan sensor system, including tilt meters, crack gauges, and other sensors. Installing these sensors into total monitoring systems can be especially helpful for monitoring assets that have a high likelihood of movement and require very frequent measurements.

For example, hybrid techniques were successful for railway monitoring during the demolition of a pedestrian bridge and construction of an underground tunnel at a railway station near Paris, France. To effectively monitor high-risk assets every two minutes, monitoring providers selected Leica Geosystems automated total stations and WiSen sensors. Across the variable conditions of the project, the system collected, analysed, and visualised the data from all sensors, supporting on-time project completion without disrupting station users.

 

4. Monitoring software with a Railway Template for fast configuration, centralised analysis, and customised reporting 

Monitoring tunnel and rail safety underneath London’s King’s Cross Station with software to analyse and visualise real-time data from multiple sources

Monitoring tunnel and rail safety underneath King’s Cross Station in the UK with software to analyse and visualise real-time data from multiple sources 

While configuring the right combination of instruments to collect data for railway monitoring is important, equally crucial is monitoring software to collate and analyse the data to make it actionable. Leica GeoMoS monitoring software  suite configures calculations, centralises inputted data from several sources, performs deformation analysis, and makes results clear and accessible for all stakeholders.

Before monitoring begins, GeoMoS makes it possible to automatically configure railway calculations with the new Railway Template feature. This feature does not require an as-built survey or design alignment input and negates manual configurations so that monitoring can start faster and deliverables can be quickly and confidently issued to stakeholders.

To learn more about how this feature works and additional benefits for railway operators and monitoring service providers, read our Expert Insight, “Railway Monitoring and the New Leica GeoMoS Railway Template.” 

Following configuration, GeoMoS Monitor can collect and process data from multiple instruments and sensor types – which made it ideal to monitor lines running underneath King’s Cross Station during a 12-year development project. Since the monitoring system would need to run 24/7 for years in areas with no direct worker access, service providers installed monitoring total stations and a range of geotechnical sensors.

GeoMoS software collected data from the instruments to provide complex and comprehensive calculations of the site. Additionally, data visualisation and reporting were seamlessly integrated using the cloud-based GeoMoS Now!, including clear, easily readable dashboards for different stakeholders, such as contractors interested in different sections of the monitored areas.

 

5. Securing continuity with LOC8  

Leica Railway Monitoring - Securing continuity with LOC8

Monitoring downtime from instrument thefts can pose consequences that extend beyond the costs of stolen equipment. When monitoring cannot continue, safety cannot be demonstrated, potentially delaying or stopping train operations.

Leica Geosystems also has an answer for this eventuality: robotic total stations can be equipped with LOC8, a solution enabling instrument tracking and fleet management.

This benefit was realised by surveying consulting company, Teodoliten Mätteknik AB, during construction of the Varberg railway tunnel in Sweden. Contracted to monitor the project, Teodoliten installed an automated monitoring system, including a brand new TM60. Only two days after setup, however, the total station was stolen, halting monitoring.

Since the TM60 was equipped with LOC8, upon discovery of the theft, the Teodoliten team could immediately locate and track the stolen total station. By providing the information to local police, the total station was quickly recovered, not only securing the instrument investment, but the continuity of the monitoring project as well.



Here we previewed 5 cases, but Leica Geosystems monitoring solutions have been used for many high-impact railway projects globally. Explore more below.

 

 

Terradata & Leica Geosystems Case Study - Digging deeper with monitoring - Thumbnail

Digging deeper with monitoring

Get into the details and the necessity of a well-planned monitoring project to support a long-term expansion project of the railway station in Winterthur, Switzerland.

Käppeli Digital and Monitoring in Heavy Construction - Thumbnail

Monitoring & the future of heavy construction

Käppeli Digital from Sargans has expanded its service offering. By adding monitoring, they can undertake monitoring projects internally. Learn all about how they map, plan and complete processes and tasks.

Monitoring Melbourne’s railways

City infrastructures are not built overnight. In between planning, design and construction, there are other crucial activities – just like monitoring happening at the same time.

Contact us about Monitoring

Get in contact with us for more information about our monitoring solutions.
Get in contact with us for more information about our monitoring solutions.

Railway Monitoring and the Leica GeoMoS Railway Template

In this expert insight, Leica Geosystems Product Engineer and railway monitoring expert, Madalina Craciun, provides an overview of railway monitoring and the Leica Geosystems solution, including the new Leica GeoMoS monitoring software feature.
In this expert insight, Leica Geosystems Product Engineer and railway monitoring expert, Madalina Craciun, provides an overview of railway monitoring and the Leica...

Monitoring for railway

The complete solution for monitoring in a rail environment
The complete solution for monitoring in a rail environment

Leica GeoMoS

Flexible automatic deformation monitoring software solution.
Flexible automatic deformation monitoring software solution.

Pemantauan

Formasi alam dan struktur buatan berada di bawah tekanan yang luar biasa. Selalu perhatikan potensi resiko apapun dengan berbagai solusi monitoring kami.
Formasi alam dan struktur buatan berada di bawah tekanan yang luar biasa. Selalu perhatikan potensi resiko apapun dengan berbagai solusi monitoring kami.