Dr David Johnson, technical director of DGauge, evaluates recent developments in gauging and explains his concept of digital gauging, which is now being applied to a range of gauging problems.
DGauge is a specialist engineering consultancy company that provides gauging analysis services to the rail industry.
The company focuses on railway vehicle, infrastructure and electrification gauging assessment, and develops new tools and techniques to improve analysis accuracy in order to work towards a better fit between infrastructure and train.
Validated by Network Rail and London Underground, DGauge has a wide range of web-based software tools and consultancy services that provide gauging information quickly and reliably, and can be applied to any rail network in the world.
Gauging assessment services for rail vehicles
Route and network gauging assessment provide a definitive list of structures with substandard clearances to a vehicle or gauge.
Structure gauging assessment is traditionally used to examine those sites or areas where inadequate clearance has been identified. It can also provide stepping compliance to passenger rolling stock.
The company’s gauging assessment tools can be applied using existing vehicles or gauges held in its standard vehicle library. Alternatively, the company can evaluate a specific vehicle concept or prototype design over large areas of the network. In addition, we can undertake gauging calculations using the latest dynamic freight and pantograph gauges.
DGauge offers gauging assessment as a consultancy service or through its online application (RouteSpace™/ GaugeSpace™), allowing clients to independently generate and interrogate gauging information.
Vehicle and gauge design
Infrastructure projects are usually required to define ‘build gauges’ for the purpose of vehicle and infrastructure design.
An accurate definition of a build gauge should minimise the need for unnecessary infrastructure work and maximise the space for vehicle design. Vehicle manufacturers need to comply with ‘build gauges’ or ‘standard gauges’ to ensure that tenders are compliant and that new rolling stock has adequate clearance.
DGauge’s Dynamic Envelope tool combines benchmark suspension with the comparative envelope to calculate the maximum shape of each vehicle cross-section. The resultant envelope is one that perfectly fits the infrastructure. It represents the largest possible envelope for the given arrangement and suspension.
DGauge provides vehicle design as a consultancy service or as a software package.
Gauging intervention assessment
DGauge’s gauging intervention tool quickly provides track intervention or wire intervention to achieve sufficient clearance (typical examples would be to calculate required track slue, track lift or wire height).
The information can then be used to support feasibility studies and risk assessments. Results can be documented in an excel format and summarised for each structure or slice.
Transitional gauging assessment
Transitional gauging has always been a complicated area and there is very little specific guidance or methodology for the calculation of clearance on transition curves.
The transitional gauging tool from DGauge enables it to load in standard topographical survey data for track strings and model vehicles as they traverse through a transitional curve.
This generates accurate modelling of vehicle overthrows, track geometry and vehicle forces through a transitional curve, without manipulating survey data, using correction factors or computer-aided design (CAD) modelling.
DGauge works for a wide range of customers, including London Underground, RSSB (Rail Standards and Safety Board), Network Rail, rolling stock companies, and vehicle manufacturers.
Operating since 2008, the company has a software and consultancy team based in Birmingham, UK.