Periodical measurements of railway infrastructure are a critical activity in any rail organisation. These measurements ensure that the railway track and adjacent assets remain in compliance with engineering standards.

While some measurements of track infrastructure are undertaken by remote sensing systems, many measurements still require maintenance crews to visit the danger zone and manually record measurements, presenting results in standardised reports.

The frequency of measurement is based on the maintenance requirements of the individual asset as outlined in the relevant Technical Maintenance Plan (TMP).

Large volumes of assets require that field crews are active throughout the year so that reports are completed within the timeframes stipulated by the TMP.

In order to provide a safe working environment for field crews, inspections often require safeworking resources, increasing the overall cost of the inspection. 

In an industry beset with a shortage of skilled workers, even before the pandemic, rail organisations are increasingly turning to digital methods to achieve ongoing infrastructure compliance. 

On a recent project performed on a major Australian railway network, it was demonstrated that datasets recorded at scale could be processed and analysed to produce standardised reports on rail infrastructure across a number of different assets classes.

The project formed the basis for a business case approval to move from manual inspections to automated, LiDAR based reports.

Key project success factors included the early and continued engagement of subject matter experts in defining and refining project requirements as the benefits and limitations of LiDAR were explored in a dynamic, outcome focused way.

Further project success factors included the availability of existing software capabilities and processing workflows developed by the spatial sector that proved instrumental in moving the project forward.

Meeting weekly, the project teams worked closely together to prove up the use of LiDAR across different asset measurement reports allowing the client to refine technical requirements and critical reference datasets needed to support the new process.

In this way the client was able to prove potential cost savings by moving to LiDAR based reporting from in-situ measurements.

This sponsored editorial is brought to you by Agonics. Agonics will be exhibiting at AusRail 2022 in Brisbane from December 5 to 7. For more information, visit

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