Network Rail is responsible for over 600 operational tunnels throughout the network, which is approximately 335km of structures. The majority of tunnels currently need a manual examination every year. Examinations performed by humans are time consuming, costly and can be dangerous for workers.
The project seeks to:
- replace manual tunnel examinations
- reduce the need for the workforce to access existing infrastructure
- increase efficiencies
- deliver a safer and more automated method of examination
The project will build on previous work undertaken during Control Period 5 by investing in the development of autonomous robotic examination systems, and analytical tools to better capture and manage examination data.
These new technologies are predicted to significantly improve the cost and increase the safety of tunnel examinations. The project will also seek to address the repeatability and reproducibility issues associated with the human centric bias of examinations, resulting in better asset condition data, a more accurate understanding of asset condition, and improved targeting of detailed examinations, maintenance and repair work.
Academic research suggests that cost savings could be in the order of 80% in comparison to the cost of manual examinations.
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For more information on the railway industry’s priorities, please refer to:
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