KiwiRail, Wellington New Zealand

Laser survey used to validate new passenger trains on Wellington network

Business Challenge

KiwiRail (formerly ONTRACK) owns and manages New Zealand’s rail network on behalf of the New Zealand Government, maintaining 4,000 kms of railway track, bridges and tunnels.

The Greater City of Wellington is serviced by 270 km of electrified commuter track. Wellington’s existing train fleet was ageing and in 2004 a business case identified the need for new trains in conjunction with a whole system upgrade.

In 2007 a $200 million agreement for 35 two car trains was signed with Rotem Mitsui, a Korean/Japanese consortium.

The new trains, replacing 70 year old stock, required network modifications and upgrades to be completed before their arrival in 2010.

Due to the imminent arrival of the new rolling stock and the lag time associated with infrastructure projects, KiwiRail needed to urgently identify all necessary infrastructure upgrades to accommodate the trains and schedule these upgrades accordingly. KiwiRail turned to Geomatic Technologies (GT) for help.

Services Overview

GT was asked by KiwiRail to survey and analyse 21 station platforms on the Wellington Network for compatibility with the new rolling stock.

GT performed a laser-based clearance survey of the Wellington network using GT’s Asset Inspection Mapping System (GT AIMS). GT AIMS is a technology platform that can be configured for a wide range of mapping needs and can be installed on a range of vehicles.

Using the engineering drawings of the Rotem train, GT carried out the following analysis:

–  Clearance reports for the Rotem train at specified platforms.

–  Calculation of passenger step off and step down distances at 10 metre intervals along the

–  Identification of areas of low clearance and vehicle ‘strike’ locations at the platforms.

–  Calculation of passenger step off and step down distances at these ‘strike’ locations.


–  The rolling stock clearance reports generated using GT AIMS gave KiwiRail confidence that  the Rotem Mitsui vehicles would be compatible with the Wellington rail network, bridges and  structures.

–  Kinematic parameters supplied by Rotem Mitsui and KiwiRail allowed GT to model the actual  sway and loading of the new passenger trains such that passenger step offs at curved platforms  could be verified for safety and gap clearance.

–  The laser survey allowed KiwiRail to identify at what locations along platforms the tracks need  to be slewed to avoid ‘strikes’.

–  GT’s quick mobilisation and processing of laser data maximised the time available to
KiwiRail to plan and execute infrastructure upgrade works in time for the arrival of the new