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Stay On Track with the Enhanced T4D Rail Module

Trimble® 4D Control™ (T4D) software version 6.5 includes an enhanced version of the T4D Rail module that provides automated track monitoring deliverables adaptable to a wide range of project specifications and requirements.

Released on November 6, 2023, Trimble 4D Control (T4D) version 6.5 is now available. Visit the T4D webpage and T4D Rail webpage to learn more, read our release notes and download here.

Monitoring total station mounted beside rail track

Image 1: Total station monitoring rail track (photo courtesy of Dütschler+Partner AG)

Rail Monitoring, Streamlined

Understanding the behavior of rail track geometry is essential to ensuring the safety of railway traffic, whether in areas where construction is taking place, regions prone to natural hazards, or where aging infrastructure is awaiting renewal. Regardless of previous experience with T4D, the expanded capabilities in the T4D Rail module simplify rail monitoring workflows, enabling rail operators to detect potential infrastructure issues early by tracking changes in geometry over time, empowering them to make more informed decisions. 

Traditional rail monitoring is time-consuming, requiring multiple surveyors collecting data along the rails, disrupting traffic flow and introducing potential risks to the safety of workers and passengers. Additionally, complex manual calculations expose potential errors in the final deliverable.
The new T4D Rail improvements address these real-world challenges, meeting the demands of rail geometry monitoring, requirements and specifications in extremely varied regions and projects with enhanced flexibility of monitoring in both the field and the office.

T4D Rail Featured Updates

1. AMTS rail monitoring with or without the track's as-built

One of the significant enhancements in T4D version 6.5 is having the ability to monitor the track using AMTS (automated monitoring total station) without the track's as-built data. This is particularly beneficial in projects with a lot of rail traffic, where the time window for accessing the track is limited. 

Now, users can install the monitoring prisms and start monitoring without needing to block or stop the traffic to collect the as-built geometry of the track. T4D Rail takes it from there and automatically calculates the rail geometry parameters based on the prism position. 

After hearing about this new supported workflow, Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Ekkehart Grillmayer from GeoAT in Austria said, "This provides significant additional value for smaller projects in my region, for example, construction of various passages beneath the track.” He continued, “For these types of projects, information about the relative parameter changes is sufficient. A critical concern for project owners is ensuring the stability of the geometry throughout the relatively short construction period, and this workflow addresses that requirement."

Monitoring prisms installed on rail track

Image 2: Monitoring prisms installed on the track (photo courtesy of Wild Ingenieure AG)

2. Proactive and flexible tiltmeter support for early detection

Not every project necessitates a complete AMTS solution delivering absolute geometry data. Tiltmeters offer added flexibility for rail monitoring by providing data on geometry changes, which can serve as a proactive warning system. In cases where a change is detected, manual track surveys can always be conducted to get absolute data.

There are also projects and scenarios where tiltmeters can be a complete solution, delivering the necessary data defined in the project requirements. Discussing tiltmeters for rail monitoring, Brent Dawson from UPG, Australia, said, "The big value of this approach is the ease of installation and the ability to deliver required data for monitoring the change of the most critical rail parameter: twist."

Tiltmeters monitoring railway track geometry

Image 3: Tiltmeters monitoring railway track geometry

3. Tailoring the T4D Rail module to your project needs

When calculating rail geometry parameters, requirements and specifications vary from one region to another and from one project to the next. Users can now highly customize and adapt the rail section according to their needs. This includes the flexibility to choose the appropriate height reference to ensure correct outputted and visualized data. Recognizing the regional variations in twist units and their visualizations, T4D now incorporates diverse twist calculation methods to meet these specific needs. 

Additionally, the T4D Rail module introduces a parameter calculation for both rails (see Image 4). Calculated data can be exported into a detailed .xlsx file that contains essential information necessary for generating tailored stakeholder reports.

Screenshot of T4D software selecting rail geometry parameters to be monitored

Image 4: Selecting rail geometry parameters to be monitored

Screenshot of T4D software showing visualized change of vertical displacement

Image 5: Visualized change of vertical displacement of the left and right rail

Continue Learning About T4D

To learn more about the many ways T4D automates simplicity, visit the T4D 6.5 release blog.

T4D Rail Availability

The new version of the T4D Rail module is available now. To add the Rail module to your T4D software platform, contact the Trimble Monitoring team or contact your local Trimble Distribution Partner.