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Virtual reality modelling ‘at the core’ of Liverpool Lime Street redesign

The Liverpool Lime Street station redevelopment is the first rail project in the UK to use a “virtual reality model at its core”, according to Network Rail.

The infrastructure owner says the use of 4D modelling to prepare for the station work, which will begin in 2017, will reduce the amount of time needed on track and the potential to impact on train services.

Graeme Whitehead, Liverpool Lime Street project manager, said:  “On major projects, where you have people laying track, moving bridges and installing electrical wires overhead, all at the same time, we need precise planning to avoid overlaps that could potentially cause projects to overrun or risk the safety of those working.

“Using this state-of-the-art technology we can spot those clashes before they happen making the project safer and more efficient. This delivers benefits for passengers, taxpayers and our orange army of engineers.”

Liverpool Lime Street will close in autumn 2017 and again in 2018 for the work, which will allow longer trains and up to three extra trains an hour.

Platform remodelling work is already underway at the station, which is being supported by a virtual reality model of Liverpool Lime Street’s current and future platforms.

Network Rail is also using a 3D computer-aided design (CAD) model to help sight where new signals will be placed at the station. Previously, engineers would have had to map where the signals would go on site, which would take up more time and money and would frequently need to be done at night, when fewer trains are running, in difficult conditions.

Simon Wray, managing director of Specialist Project Integration, the company which developed the software, said: “Liverpool Lime Street is the first rail project in Britain to have a virtual reality model at its core.

“A unique feature of the system is that it works on multiple formats including mobile devices. Liverpool Lime Street is also the first project to use Oculus Rift virtual reality technology, which allows for a fully immersive experience for training and engagement.”

To ensure that work happens safely and simultaneously, the 4D technology directly links the 3D model and the construction plan and allows planners to schedule and co-ordinate the many thousands of tasks which can be visualised as a ‘virtual construction model’. This allows teams to spot potential clashes and hazards prior to deploying resources and machinery on site, which has a vast saving on time and cost.

(Image c. Network Rail)

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Andrew G   18/09/2016 at 15:11

Suppose it could be part of the Northern Powerhouse with major stations to be redeveloped and revamped. Liverpool Lime Street could be revamped with few extra platforms for more trains that use Liverpool Lime Street which is on the WCML branch to Manchester and London and could impose a major hub for HS2 unless a new station for HS2 in Liverpool is in planning and would be built. As well the electrification of the Liverpool-Manchester line that is part of the Northern Powerhouse and also part of the TransPennine route which will link with Leeds, York and Hull once the electrification is completed and new trains to be ordered replacing the older trains with former Thameslink Class 319's which operates between Liverpool and Manchester could see platforms at other stations to be extended for 8-car and 12-car trains and 10-car trains as well.

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