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Victorian Rail Heritage Preserved in 3D

image of Victorian Rail Heritage
Victorian Rail Heritage

Richard Palmer, rail sector manager at Dura Composites, explores how the latest 3D laser scanning technology can be used to preserve the UK’s Victorian rail heritage.

From an article in BIM Today.

Laser scanning is a way of visualising and exploring the structure, surface, fixtures or fittings of a building which is now finding new purpose in the preservation of some of the UK’s cherished Victorian railway heritage.

3D scanners use light and radar (LIDAR) to measure and record precise locations and distances to produce a point cloud file and help to capture a level of accuracy that would never be possible by hand.

Although the technology has seen considerable advances in the past few years, it’s not until now that it has been used as a cost-effective way of enabling rail infrastructure projects, particularly with regards to Victorian station canopies.

Traditionally an area that’s both difficult to reach and potentially disruptive to the station user, 3D laser scanning is now being successfully utilised to take accurate measurements of the precise detailing and structural properties of the entire canopy, to assist in its conservation, refurbishment or regeneration – without the need for intrusive surveying techniques or station closures.

3D laser scanning for rail station canopies
Accurately surveying the intricate features of buildings and structures has always been a challenge, but 3D laser scanning creates a more detailed representation than could be achieved with previous technology, and much faster too.

A 3D laser scanner can gather millions of data points per second, which in itself is astonishing, but from a health and safety point of view, it’s revolutionary. Often surveys require permission to access rooftops, or involve working at height in some form, for example in surveying a rail canopy at a station, so swapping traditional surveys for 3D laser scanning is a big step towards de-risking a project – both from a personnel perspective, and when it comes to the building itself.

For the complete article on Victorian rail heritage CLICK HERE.

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