RAIL COR­RI­DOR DIG­I­TAL­I­SA­TION COMES TO AFRICA

Sigma Rail has com­pleted the first full 3D mod­el­ling of the fu­ture high-speed line be­tween Ra­bat and Casablanca in Mo­rocco

PMV Middle East - - RAIL TRANSPORT -

Spain-based Sigma-rail aims to re­duce the num­ber of peo­ple ac­cess­ing rail cor­ri­dors for dif­fer­ent con­struc­tion, main­te­nance and op­er­a­tional tasks. Re­cently, the ser­vice provider of cap­ture, pro­cess­ing and vi­su­al­i­sa­tion of rail­way in­fras­truc­ture data com­pleted the full 3D mod­el­ling of a fu­ture high-speed line be­tween Ra­bat and Casablanca in Mo­rocco.

Dig­i­tal­iz­ing a rail cor­ri­dor us­ing mo­bile map­ping and min­ing data from 3D point clouds is a first-of-its-kind project in the MENA re­gion, in­tro­duc­ing a host of cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies for the re­gion’s in­fras­truc­ture busi­ness.

The project led by Bom­bardier Trans­porta­tion con­sists of the in­stal­la­tion of new in­ter­lock­ing and sig­nalling sys­tems based on the Euro­pean Rail­way Traf­fic Man­age­ment Sys­tem (ERTMS) stan­dards to cope for high­speed traf­fic.

To ex­e­cute the project, Sigma-rail mounted a mo­bile map­ping de­vice from its part­ner Le­ica on a main­te­nance rail ve­hi­cle. The ve­hi­cle ran the length of the line at night dur­ing the main­te­nance work­ing win­dow and cap­tured the en­tire line in four nights, de­spite the tight­ness of the main­te­nance win­dow due to the heavy­traf­fic on the line.

Mo­bile map­ping is a tech­nique that in­volves col­lec­tion of geospa­tial data from a mov­ing ve­hi­cle. In this case, a LIDAR to­gether with an ac­cu­rate GNSS re­ceiver and an in­er­tial mea­sur­ing unit (IMU) were mounted on the main­te­nance ve­hi­cle. The puls­ing laser used in the LIDAR de­vice can reach more than

100m at each side of the ve­hi­cle, gen­er­at­ing a com­plete 3D point cloud of the cor­ri­dor and its sur­round­ings. To ob­tain the model with higher ac­cu­racy, the 3D point cloud is ad­justed dur­ing post pro­cess­ing by us­ing ground con­trol points (GCP) gath­ered us­ing to­po­graphic-grade GNSS re­ceivers on the track and then match­ing those points of known lo­ca­tions with point clouds.

Once the data is ac­quired us­ing the mo­bile map­per, the 3D point clouds are post-pro­cessed at the of­fice. Data such as the num­ber of sig­nals, boxes, and track cir­cuits as well as their ac­cu­rate kilo­met­ric point (mile­stone) are mined from the point cloud and for­mat­ted ac­cord­ing to the client’s re­quire­ments. In this man­ner, a full geo-lo­cated stock­tak­ing of the rail cor­ri­dor is pos­si­ble within days af­ter the cap­ture is car­ried out, avoid­ing hun­dreds of man-hours on the track.

Jorge Lopez-sanchez, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Sigma-rail, says: “This method re­duces the risk of per­son­nel en­ter­ing the track and po­ten­tial hu­man er­rors. This is crit­i­cal on a heavy-traf­fic line such as Ra­bat-casablanca which han­dles both pas­sen­ger and freight ser­vices and where an ERTMS Level 1 is be­ing im­ple­mented. The ERTMS sys­tem re­quires geo­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tion ac­cu­racy for safety-crit­i­cal re­lated as­sets. It was also pos­si­ble to mine the track slopes from the 3D point cloud, as there was ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion about the height of each point cloud. This way, it was pos­si­ble to au­to­mate the gra­di­ent cal­cu­la­tion ex­tracted at the fre­quency re­quired by the client.”

Sigma-rail also per­formed a com­plete anal­y­sis of the el­e­ments in­stalled on the track, which helped sim­plify con­tracts with the com­pa­nies han­dling the works on the tracks. It helped re­duce project risks be­fore the test­ing phase.

“A deeper anal­y­sis is pos­si­ble once the data is ex­tracted from the 3D model. For in­stance, a hu­man fac­tor anal­y­sis re­gard­ing the new in­di­ca­tion point to the driver on the ERTMS brak­ing curves can be car­ried out to study the po­ten­tial im­pact on cur­rent driv­ing prac­tices of the de­ploy­ment of ERTMS. The in­for­ma­tion can be also used for train­ing and op­er­a­tional readi­ness pur­poses, all of which can be done be­fore the test­ing and com­mis­sion­ing phase of the project,” says Lopez-sanchez.

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