Highlights of the RailCOMPLETE® development – A BIM success story

The planning process for electrotechnical systems in railway engineering is characterised by many system discontinuities, different planning procedures in control and safety technology and overhead line construction. The planning process is not yet based on a standardised data model and consistent data management. In addition, each national railway in Europe has its own planning procedure.

That was the starting point for me, Claus Feyling and my team, to begin developing a generic planning tool. Since the beginnings in 2015  RailCOMPLETE has been constantly expanded with new functions. Today, the tool has a wide range of functions that partially automate the planning process of the control and safety technology and catenary systems and thus make it more economical for the end customer – planning periods are shortened and the planning effort is reduced. You can find more details about this in the tutorial: Introduction to RailCOMPLETE v2021.0.pdf

Our first customer was the engineering service provider Norconsult AS in Norway, which is still Railcomplete AS’ largest customer today. Since then the companies Sweco AS and Multiconsult AS have joined . These companies are leaders in overhead contact line planning in Norway, and Norconsult is also a planning office in the field of control and safety technology for long-distance traffic. You can see a current project example from Norconsult AS here: RailCOMPLETE saves time and increases planning efficiency.

Since 2019, we have realised extensive pilot applications which focus on new concepts for the planning of control and safety technologies. We were able to prove and show that RailCOMPLETE is the suitable tool for the representation of control and safety technology in 2D, 3D and tables and which functional range the future desktop capacity simulator will have. You can see our demo video here: The JUNCTION simulator

Proof-of-concept: The JUNCTION on-the-fly desktop capacity simulator

In cooperation with SNCF we have developed a comprehensive embedded scripting system. We demonstrated the scripting by importing object data as Excel files from the national “Gaia ” asset database and having RailCOMPLETE convert them from Excel into track and control and safety objects in 2D and 3D – see Converting SNCF GAÏA asset data from Excel to an editable BIM model.

Since 2018, we have been working with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd in Japan, High-Speed Rail Division. At the end of 2021, we concluded a contract for a pilot project, a tool evaluation phase. The focus of the contract is on control and safety technology and overhead line construction. The pilot project will run until the end of 2022. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd is seeking adoption of RailCOMPLETE for use in a future high-speed rail contract in the USA, Texas High Speed Rail project (TxHSR) which will build a closed Shinkansen system based on proven Japanese technology.

In 2021, we were commissioned by the European project EULYNX to develop a first demonstrator showing that RailCOMPLETE is a project planning tool to implement the upcoming data exchange format “EULYNX ” for control and safety technology and that EULYNX DP is suitable to become a European standard in the planning process. This could replace the national exchange formats such as PlanPro, IMSpoor, Gaia etc. and create interoperability in planning for cross-border projects.  Have a look at the Eulynx project and our demo which shows that the DLL of the EULYNX format has been integrated into RailCOMPLETE and that the German planning attributes could be created for DB Netz – RailCOMPLETE models German signaling using the Eulynx exchange language.

Since 2021 we have been present on the German market and can help to comprehensively automate the planning process, especially against the background of the planned rollout of ETCS and digital interlockings (DSTW).

We have demonstrated that a RailCOMPLETE script can successfully convert a Class B signaling model into an ETCS model with data points. The script was converted from a Java implementation of the German ETCS rule set draft of the University of Dresden for the placement of ETCS data points.

Automatic placement of ETCS data points based on a planned Class B siganling system at Scheibenberg

Since autumn 2020, we have been a member of the standardisation committee for IFC Rail Alignment With Cant of Building Smart International. We were able to ensure that almost all basic concepts and real requirements of rail planning will be mapped in the upcoming IFC Rail 4×3. RailCOMPLETE will include its own IFC export and import from 2023. A property set editor is expected to be available by the end of 2022.

Catenary modeling with RailCOMPLETE (Source: Norconsult AS)

We are gradually growing and expanding our team of developers, to develop more exciting and beneficial functions for rail planning. We are actively looking for partners to support us in our growth. In the meantime, you can try RailCOMPLETE for yourself – download the RC application and the latest official Norwegian DNA version and take advantage of our extended 60-day free trial for new customers.

Meet us at Innotrans 2022 

The RailCOMPLETE booth at Innotrans 2018

Innotrans 2022 is the greatest railway event of the year, from Tuesday 20th to Friday 23rd September in Berlin. Please visit us at our booth #100 in building 6.1

RailCOMPLETE saves time

RailCOMPLETE provides a high degree of automation and streamlining of processes. In many areas, the program helps to save time, says experienced senior engineer Knut Atle Stene Andersen at Norconsult.  

– With RailCOMPLETE as the central repository for the data, and with the programming of the tables in RailCOMPLETE, the quality has improved compared to the more manual work processes we used to do. But most importantly, the time it takes to produce drawings has gone down significantly, says senior engineer Stene Andersen.  

Tight deadlines and strict rules

Knut Atle Stene Andersen has been working with overhead contact lines and railway since 1993. In 2010 he started with the project management of such installations and has since then participated in several large projects in connection with the electrification and upgrading of the Norwegian railway. These days he is central in the work on the drawings for the electrification of the Trønder and Meråker railway, assignment “ETM”.  

This assignment is carried out as a subcontractor to NRC, which has a turnkey contract for Bane NOR. The section of railway line from Trondheim with the Tyholt tunnel and further east is approximately 120 km with single track and a dozen stations. The contract extends from Marienborg via Stavne-Leangbanen and from Trondheim station to Stjørdal station on the Nordlandsbanen, and from Hell station to Riksgrensen on the Meråkerbanen. There are no contact lines from before, and the railway line is characterized by many and sharp curves.  

– The project must be completed by November 2023. These are tight deadlines and strict regulations. RailCOMPLETE contributes to good implementation, says Stene Andersen.  

Figure 1: Overhead Catenary System plan view, made with RailCOMPLETE

Saves a lot of time and reduces the possibility of errors

Stene Andersen and his colleagues at Norconsult are working on this extensive project. He checks wiring, equipment placement and dimensioning in accordance with Bane NOR’s extensive technical regulations, and that drawings and tables have the correct appearance and content. There are several hundred drawings in the project, both line drawings in scale 1:500 and 1:1000 for contact line installations, and there are earthing plans in scale. All drawings contain tables with hundreds of figures which of course must be correct.  

During the project, and once it is built, thousands of engineered objects must be reported to Bane NOR’s system for monitoring construction projects, and finally key data must be transferred to Bane NOR’s operational database, “Banedata”.  

In this assignment, foundation plans are not stored as drawings, instead, the XYZ object placement coordinates from RailCOMPLETE are transferred to NRC as data files. There are also no 3D models in this mission.  

-There are many processes and many possible sources of error in such a project. RailCOMPLETE contributes to an increased degree of automation and efficiency of the processes. But although it saves us time and reduces the risk of errors, it still requires considerable expertise to drive such a project forward, says Stene Andersen.  

Figure 2: OCS pole table and OCS contact wire table, automatically generated with RailCOMPLETE

Breakthrough – Interlocking tables with RailCOMPLETE

Today we are making Norwegian Railway History – RailCOMPLETE is now capable of modeling tracks, switches, track vacancy detection sections, signal, via points and fictitious end points, and figures out the complex signaling system’s socalled interlocking tables by itself. These are detailed tables which describe the required state for switches and track sections in order to allow a certain train route or shunting route to be set and the corresponding signals be set to ‘clear’.

This far we have developed support for generating train routes, shunting routes, extended train routes and extended shunting routes. The RailCOMPLETE development team now aims at producing all 20 interlocking table types according to the Norwegian Bane NORs design guidelines “Veileder for forriglingstabeller”.

The interlocking tables may be generated from a schematic as well as from a geographic RailCOMPLETE model.

Below you will find a fictitious railway station. The corresponding interlocking tables may be downloaded here.

RailCOMPLETE® at Nordic Rail 2017

3D model preview for railway objects

RailCOMPLETE now has a function that previews the associated 3D model for a given object. The example below shows a controlled balise. When the CAD cursor hovers over the 2D symbol in AutoCAD model space, then an image of the associated 3D model is shown from a specified angle (here: from front/left side).

Automated Model Checks in RailCOMPLETE objects

Tired of spending countless hours of checking your railway drawings?

We are proud to announce that RailCOMPLETE objects now compute their own local model checks. Each time an object is used, refreshed or inspected, its model checks are re-evaluated. Model checking automates the tedious process of finding small and large inconsistencies in your model, or between your model and other discipline’s models.

In the example below (*) we have defined Error, Warning and OK distance intervals between neighboring balises in the up and down directions measured along the track. We have also introduced distance checks against balises in flyover tracks or in adjacent tracks. Looking for all objects with a problem is easily done from the Object Manager, in order to review and fix your model before delivery.

(*) ATC for the Bane NOR national rail administration, Norway.

The Manage Properties window shows this…

…when the AutoCAD modelspace shows this:

Invitation to railway BIM product launch, Oslo, 28th of November

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RailCOMPLETE® at Nordic Rail 2017

RC-CopySelectionAlongPath

RC-CopySelectionAlongPath – copying a complete object group

At first the user will configure a group of objects, with property values, formulas, internal connections and relations. Thereafter the command RC-CopySelectionAlongPath is used, where the user is prompted for an increment and a number of copies. The selected group of objects are copied along the path that they belong to, as many and as far as specified. The user may specify that a common reference alignment (track) shall be used, in order for objects to stay aligned even if there are curves, where the different objects will actually be moved by differing lengths.
The obvious benefit for the user is that many tedious engineering hours are saved this way. Relations between objects internal to the group are found in the copies. A typical usage is a group of tunnel catenary masts, foundations and cantilevers which may be copied 50 times in order to make up support for a catenary wire length of 1000-1500 meters. Another usage is the Emergency Exit informative signs in tunnels, which are copied for every 25 meters typically. The boards contain a reference to the preceding and to the following escape rooms, along with formulas which compute the distances to be shown on the boards.

The command will be made available with RailCOMPLETE v1.0.