Arc has historically relied on external parties to provide this asset monitoring service, but has brought it in-house to ensure the expertise sits within the business and our people have a better insight into the data to ensure the best use of resources in managing the railway.
The track geometry testing equipment is mounted on the Asset Monitoring Vehicle (AMV), a yellow, custom gauge-convertible road-rail Mack Truck. Affectionately known as ‘Ronald’, the AMV can be used as a conventional heavy rigid vehicle on the road, while on the rail it operates as a bi-directional dual cab diesel rail car capable of travelling at 80km/hr.
The data provided by the AMV allows Arc to have a much clearer picture of the condition of the network, and enables the business to make data-driven decisions to ensure the short and long term health of the rail network.
Ronald is equipped with an inertial, non-contact track geometry and rail profile measurement system to capture highly accurate data about the rail system. The system has demonstrated consistent sub-millimetre accuracy in its measurements.
During development the project team enhanced the AMV with a high accuracy GPS and track centreline mapping system, marking a significant improvement on previous systems. The new levels of accuracy mean that the data output can feed into Arc’s digital twin, the interactive model of the network and core pillar of the future Asset Management Strategy.
Senior Asset Engineer and project lead Mark Richardson said fitting out the vehicle was just the beginning.
“Creating a team capable of operating the system was crucial to the success of the program. The level of detail we can get from this system is just incredible, providing the best picture of the network to date. The use of in-house technology, plant and people provides us with more predictable, consistent data. This will allow us to make better decisions about network maintenance, to allocate our resources in a more targeted manner and to engage in better long term planning.
“A project like this does not happen in isolation – it took a team with contributors from across the business. The data we receive from this project is sure to have some great benefits for the business as we continue the digital transformation of the network,” Mr Richardson said.