- 12th December 2019
- Posted by: Miranda Pont
- Category: News
We’re thrilled to say that we recently received a finalist award for ‘Asset Management Team Achievement’ at The Institute of Asset Management Global Awards 2019.
The team receiving the award comprised ourselves, Network Rail, Mott MacDonald and Arup, and the finalist award nomination was for:
“The team that has undertaken the transformative development of asset management processes for the management of the earthworks of Network Rail”.
This finalist award recognises the partnership built between our cross-disciplinary team made up of diverse specialists from the different suppliers ranging from geologists, geotechnical engineers, risk and resilience experts, data analysts, GIS specialists, data management systems and asset managers, ensuring that Network Rail was able to access the right domain knowledge for every aspect of their wide-ranging challenges.
The partnership has been running since 2014 to deliver a step change in the implementation of asset management principals, driven by Network Rail’s desire for continuous improvement and tackling some of their long-standing challenges. A significant research and development programme was delivered to support this. Our collaborative client/supplier team ensured that the right expertise was deployed for each activity, and outputs were always guided by the required pragmatism of the team.
The outcome is a marked reduction in the number of potentially severe earthworks failures on the network, and a fourfold reduction in the number of earthworks attributable train derailments.
Earthworks System Background
Network Rail is responsible for managing the infrastructure slopes that enable 20,000 miles of track to connect communities across the country. This includes a portfolio of over 190,000 embankments, soil cuttings and rock cuttings. Most of these are in excess of 150 years old and do not offer comparable levels of capability and resilience to modern engineered slopes. Each of these slopes require monitoring through site examination based on a priority-based schedule, assisting in the asset management decisions for individual slopes.
The formalisation of the Network Rail earthworks asset management was initiated in 2002, starting with the systemisation of the then Railtrack RT/030 standard for earthworks asset data collection. A data collection system was originally created as a pilot project to assess handheld geo-locational digital data collection on site (subsequently named GISmo), to remove the usage of paper and spreadsheet-based asset data collection. Following a successful trial we put the system into production for Network Rail. A subsequent update to the earthwork standards occurred in 2004 for the then RT/065 standard and the system was updated to make use of virtual segments of the entire rail network to define the assets. In 2007 the system was nationally adopted for data collection under the NR/L3/CIV/065 standard.
Major policy changes were implemented in 2014, overhauling the asset management process, based on the work undertaken by the team. This required the solution to be broadened beyond the asset database alone, bringing in whole life cost tools, workbank tools and revisions to the asset management documentation. To introduce these new tools to the asset management community, there has been a considerable emphasis on training and support from the team to the end users. This process undergoes continual improvement and the teamwork is currently under another phase of update into the future.
Earthworks System Implementation
We are proud to have been working on a process of earthwork examinations on behalf of Network Rail for the last 18 years.
From inception, the asset data collection system was designed to be spatially aware using GPS to define and locate assets on site using the ‘GISmo’ application. A sister iPad (iOS) based application has now also been put into production, ‘GISmapp’, alongside ‘GISmo’. Data from site is delivered to a server for synchronisation. The collated data is then presented in a web-based application for data management and reporting. The system has also always been template based, using eXtensible Mark-up Language (XML), to enable consistency, efficient updates to the system structure and portability. Both the site data collection and web application have undergone a full-application lifecycle and now have modern application equivalents maintaining and blending a consistent application design. A wide user community of over 350 users is currently supported, formed of both Network Rail and industry users, accessing over 1 million asset inspection records as the basis of the asset management process. Live data feeds are also provided into cross-discipline accessible Network Rail systems.
At all stages the solution has been implemented with an emphasis on user community involvement and feedback within Network Rail and the asset examiners, augmented with collaborative partnerships with the asset management team. There have been many challenges to overcome over the 18 years seeking to react to technology, standard, policy, organisational and regulator led changes. In all situations a flexible, pragmatic and collaborative approach has been sought to resolve problems.
Want to know more?
For more information about our asset management systems work with Network Rail, email Derek Farrier. You can also find out more about our work in this field on our Systems, Software and Data web page.