Sydney Trains, Sydney Australia

Mapping of railway access tracks provides emergency services with improved corridor access information when responding to railway incidents

Business Challenge
Sydney Trains (formerly RailCorp New South Wales) owns, operates, and maintains the Sydney suburban and interurban rail network extending to Newcastle, Lithgow, Campbelltown and
Bomaderry.

As part of its emergency response obligations, Sydney Trains determined that improved corridor access information was required for the satisfactory management of incidents that occurred
within the rail corridor.

Sydney Trains decided that it needed to locate and assess the position of gates and access tracks and make this information available to the NSW Emergency Services Bureau.

Services Overview
With a solid track record in rail asset capture projects, Sydney Trains approached Geomatic Technologies (GT) to map all access tracks adjacent to the Sydney Trains track network.

The Sydney Trains mapping requirements included detailed definitions of access track tee-off’s and practical terminations, track restrictions such as cattle grids, gate types, gate width measurements as well as track width and track condition rules that were imparted to the GT project team over a 2- day training and observation period.

Due to the hazardous work site environment GT staff was required to complete rail standards level-1 track awareness training.

A single 4WD mapping vehicle was configured with GT’s own Asset Inspection Mapping System (AIMS) hardware (computers, differential Global Positioning System (GPS), OH&S fit-out) and software. Sydney Trains supplied GT with an extract from its Geographic Information System (GIS) that contained the track centreline and rail property easement together with the Sydney road network.

Access tracks were ‘coordinated’ using differential GPS as the mapping vehicle transited their length after leaving the public road network. Each track was represented by a series of nodes supplied at a 5 metre interval with relevant features snapped to the track alignment such that
track topology and relationship to the public road network was maintained (essentially the data supplied by GT could be used in a routable navigation dataset).

Both sides of the rail corridor were required to be visited and private level crossings were included in the scope of work and digital photos were taken of track features that did not conform to the standard Sydney Trains mapping specification.

The most logical entrance and exit points to the rail easement from the public road network were also surveyed together with access gate, security and road surface condition features.

Outcomes
Through its asset capture services GT provided the following outcomes to Sydney Trains:
–  Improved corridor access information for satisfactory management of incidents in the rail
corridor.
–  A spatial database of track assets to +/-2 m accuracy and suitable for emergency vehicle  navigation.
–  Well structured spatial data that could readily be assumed by the client’s GIS system.