Unlocking rail electrification data

The Greater West (TGW) is the largest UK rail electrification project to date, comprehensively upgrading Brunel’s mainline Victorian-era railway from London to Cardiff. Route Sections 8 and 9 extend from Patchway through to Cardiff. There are complex interfaces with existing infrastructure, major stations, structures and tunnels. As a design and build contract, the project has a number of key stakeholders and interfacing parties and involves multiple design houses and construction management teams, with staff located across the UK.

A project of this scale and complexity has inherently large and abundant data sets. At project inception the client provided various existing 3rd party data sets in a range of formats and sizes. Additional data sets were procured from several sources and the total volume of data increases daily with the creation of new project data (e.g. directly from site).

A key challenge for this project was that initial IT infrastructure did not allow for effective management and dissemination of project data. This meant that information was being stored in a variety of locations across a number of incompatible platforms.

Site data was being manually created, reviewed, verified and transmitted. There was often a lag of several weeks between data procurement/ creation at site and the moment when designers and the design liaison team were able to interrogate the data. With a lean programme to work to, achieving time/ cost savings was critical and hence a method to accelerate workflows was required.

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