NCHSR: The possibilities are limitless

The National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) has been gifted with a brand-new lab dedicated to surveying and scanning technologies designed to further strengthen the next generation of engineers. RTM’s Luana Salles reports.

The facilities at the brand-new NCHSR will get a major boost to its surveying technologies as part of a new dedicated lab.

As a result of an in-kind gift from Californian company Trimble, the NCHSR’s two campuses in Doncaster and Birmingham will be able to expand their training and research into railway design, construction and maintenance, as well as more fully integrate the technological tools across their curricula.

The lab will feature a range of equipment including robotic surveying systems, 3D laser scanners, general construction lasers, theodolites and automatic levels, GIS mapping receivers, and Global Navigation Satellite System receivers – as well as a variety of software for scanning and 3D modelling. It is expected to benefit six departments across the college’s programme: track and civil engineering; infrastructure; power; control command and communication; and rolling stock.

In the civil engineering course, for example, which offers a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship qualification, students will be able to learn how to establish dimensional control by surveying and setting out a range of labour, plant and materials.

Broadening the college’s capabilities

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the NCHSR, who sits on RTM’s Editorial Board, argued the possibilities of the Trimble Technology Lab “are limitless.”

Potential applications of the technologies range from the as-built survey documentation for railway track and maintenance and surveying stakeout, to 3D scanning of tunnels, stations and services along the track corridor.

They will also aid with track clearance, design and sharing of 3D structural railway building models, digital fabrication of custom lab equipment, management and analysis of linear projects, and construction resources optimisation and scheduling to reduce costs.

“As students and faculty across our campuses have access to these latest technologies – surveying, 3D building modelling, performance analysis and digital fabrication – NCHSR will broaden its capabilities to pioneer technical excellence to produce a new generation of highly-skilled professionals to lead Britain’s future rail industry,” Mowbray added.

Ron Bisio, vice president of Trimble Geospatial, said the new lab will allow the next generation of rail apprentices and engineering professionals to experience “the latest technologies with a specific focus on high-speed rail applications.”

“We also look forward to supporting and learning from these new professionals as they apply our solutions to real-world applications in their curricula,” he continued. “We believe these tools will play an important role in creating a centre of excellence for the high-speed rail sector in the UK.”

Both of the NCHSR campuses opened their doors in October last year, with each boasting a maximum capacity of 1,200 learners a year. Since its much-anticipated inauguration, the NCHSR has been shortlisted for a coveted Collaborative Working accolade at the UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA), which Mowbray considered a testament to the team who “have worked tirelessly to share the vision of the college with a wide community of businesses, civil servants, existing and potential new learners.”




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