Tyréns on track in planning the Norrbotnia railway
The Swedish Transport Administration gave Tyréns the assignment in 2016 to prepare a railway plan and project documents for the first stretch of a new coastal railway between Umeå and Luleå. The Norrbotnia railway will create opportunities for several positive effects – for Sweden as a whole and the region. The new railway will strengthen transportation of freight goods and allow for passenger traffic along the Norrlandic coast. The first stage of the railway, between Umeå and Dåva, has now been planned by Tyréns – and the notion being to start construction already in 2019.
Tyréns is one of Sweden's leading consultancy companies in civil engineering and infrastructure. The company has more than 2700 employees and about 30 local offices around the country – plus offices in Denmark, England, Estonia and Lithuania. The rail planning of the Norrbotnia railway has been carried out at the Kalix office, while the road and WS design was carried out at Tyrén's offices in Luleå, Piteå and Sundsvall. This engineering work has been terrain design, road planning, water drainage, environmental and geotechnical engineering, etc.
"In our work with the Norrbotnia railway, we have used Skype a lot to communicate and coordinate our work as the participants in the project are located in different parts of the country," says Maria Berglund, road designer in the project. “At the office in Piteå we have 20 people covering several domain areas, but not everyone has been involved in the Norrbotnia railway.”
"At Tyréns, we are used to collaborating. For example, we working on the road and terrain domain, work a little overlapping in practice. In using Novapoint Road and WS on the Norrbotnia project, we have been three engineers who have worked together using the Trimble software: one road engineer in Luleå, myself in Piteå, and a third engineer using Novapoint WS in Sundsvall.”
More efficient and faster design
"By using the Quadri BIM server to coordinate the road model, we could actually advance a little faster in our planning because we were several people working simultaneously and coordinated,” Berglund points out. "This has been a big advantage. Quadri allows for several engineers to design simultaneously on a central model, thus sharing each other's updated design data in real time. It works fine to be located in different offices around the country and work across the internet. If you just have the proper access and knowledge, and you are all working on the same model database, it does not matter where you actually work. In this project, we were three engineers in three different places working with six road models in total, and it worked really well.”
"What you actually do is to download only the data sets you need right there and then to carry out your own design. Everyone works on their own design set, locally on their own computer, and then share their results with the others on the joint Quadri model server. This way, everyone can see what you've done and must relate to that in their own part of the design.”
"The downloading and sharing of the model data is done quickly and trouble-free," continues Maria Berglund. "It is a great advantage that several people can work simultaneously on the design. It undoubtedly makes the design process more efficient. I especially like the 3D view in Novapoint. As soon as you design something, you see directly how it will be in 3D, for example a road structure or the terrain.”
“The 3D model gives a much better understanding compared to 2D lines. A drawing with a lot of lines, how will that look in reality? That is not always easy to understand. Here you can see it immediately.”
"As a former teacher, I am interested in describing things in an understandable way, so the 3D visualization I like a lot. It becomes very enlightening. I notice that also in other projects we do,” Berglund says. “In 3D it becomes clear how everything will become in reality. You can even visualize houses and buildings in the proximity to what you are designing, and e.g. how slopes end up. But not least, it is much easier to detect collisions and conflicts in the design. It is especially important that mistakes can be corrected at an early stage. Otherwise it may become very costly later on.”
"This collision control can also ensure that the quality of the design can be better secured. Therefore, we have used the 3D view very much, both for our own individual control, and for easier discussions of design matters at project meetings. The coordination in Quadri allows us to have good control on our road and WS design," emphasizes Maria Berglund.
Since Tyréns in this project used various tools in the planning of other domain areas in the railway plan, Quadri has not been used for the coordination of these models.
"In the project, we had a BIM coordinator whose task was to incorporate everything into a joint coordination model. As Civil 3D and Bentley tools were used in other domain areas it was determined that all planners should send their data to this person, who then put everything into a complete project model. As exchange format were used dwg and dgn. This complete coordination model was used for example at design meetings with the Swedish Transport Administration.”
"Despite the use of different tools in the design process, it turned out well to work together," says Maria Berglund. “For example, by importing the rail track line into Quadri, we were able to get some collision control, but also by exchanging data in dwg, the common format. We got good control in this way and we have learned to collaborate even when using different software tools. The job focus of this first project phase of the Norrbotnia railway has been mainly to plan sufficient land as a decision basis for further design. The railway plan has a relatively rough design so far. The details of the road and rail track structures are not designed for example. That will be the next step, but who gets that assignment is not yet decided.”
"Our assignment with this railway plan is now completed," says Berglund. “At least at this stage. We obviously hope that we also will be given the task of detailing and developing the construction work as well. We did not use Novapoint and Quadri for everything we could have in this project, so it would be exciting to test the full potential of the BIM solution. Especially in the context of model collaboration and collision control.”
"I'm incredibly pleased with both the features of the tools and the support from Trimble. It feels safe to explore new opportunities and take on demanding projects. If a problem arises, you always find a new way going forward,” concludes Maria Berglund at Tyréns.
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