Network Rail is required to decarbonise Scotland’s Railway by 2035. D/Gauge’s Probabilistic Pantograph Gauging and Voltage Controlled Clearances (VCC) have resulted in a cost saving of £366m across the 1,800 Single Track Kilometres.

The work carried out by D/Gauge on circa 560 overhead structures (including bridges and tunnels) used modern, probabilistic engineering methodologies to establish where tighter clearances pose actual risks. Combined with VCC overhead systems, (which were extremely successful in the 2018 Andromeda test with Network Rail Scotland), the technologies have reduced the cost of electrification by £187,000 per single track kilometre. Alan Ross, Director of Engineering and Asset Management for Network Rail shared the huge cost savings at the April PWI conference in Glasgow.

At “Delivering the business case for Electrification”, the Permanent Way Institution event attendees heard how Probabilistic Pantograph Gauging and VCC techniques are reducing the cost of knocking down or modifying infrastructure. Using cutting-edge clearance methodology and technology, the work helped Network Rail eliminates structures which need partial or complete modification.

Using this technology to eliminate parts of the infrastructure that won’t require work, generates greater safety, environmental and programme efficiencies by reducing costs, time, and risk. It potentially means minimising future disruption to both rail customers and local communities, as not needing to work on certain bridges or structures means less impact on the road network.

Although D/Gauge’s method also accounts for factors that could reduce the clearance between vehicle and structure, it determines how likely they would all happen at once. This method uses site-specific information about the track, vehicle, and OLE installation of the location to produce a more realistic output, which means less route clearance work is required.

David Johnson, D/Gauge Technical Director, said: “We’re excited to be playing our part in helping Network Rail deliver a decarbonised railway.

“Our probabilistic approach de-risks and simplifies gauging, helping our clients achieve a more realistic clearance figure and importantly, it doesn’t compromise on the requirements for minimum safety standards.

“So, bridges or structures that we may have thought would need to be rebuilt don’t need any additional work to allow trains to clear new overhead equipment. If you spread this across a full programme of work it results in significant cost and time savings.”