Skip to main content

All Aboard! Keeping Belgium moving with Topcon technology

By Peter Fitzgibbon - 17th September 2023 - 09:25

As the government-owned company responsible for maintaining Belgium's railway network, Infrabel’s priority is to keep everything moving smoothly. To do this, it recently needed to renew the switches and crossings at Kinkempois in the country's Walloon region

Kinkempois 3

In order to ensure an efficient, safe and high-quality changeover, Infrabel partnered with construction specialist Jérouville, and when it came to choosing technology to help guide its machinery, the contractor turned to Topcon Positioning and its advanced Total Station solutions.

Based in Libramont since the 1970s, Jérouville carries out various railway works for Infrabel throughout the Walloon region. With a wealth of experience from similar projects, the team at Jérouville knew how important it was to keep the project on schedule and avoid disruption to the rail network.

Stéphane Lemaire, Equipment Manager at Jérouville, said: "For any project involving national railways, it’s vital that the work is conducted quickly, safely and to the highest possible standard, which is why we rely on Topcon’s technology.

Kinkempois 4
Located in the the municipality of Liège in Belgum's Walloon Region, Kinkempoisthe district is noted for its marshalling yard, locomotive depot and various other railway facilities

“At Kinkempois, we first dismantled and removed the previous set of foundations and the sub-foundations. From there we installed new foundations, as they are the bedrock of the new switches and crossings, and will ensure the new switches have a good grounding for years to come. For the earthworks involved in this process, we used two Komatsu crawler dozers, a D37 and a D51 PXi, in conjunction with the Topcon Total Stations, which provided us with incredibly accurate data in real-time, helping teams operate as efficiently as possible.”

The next generation of positioning technology

With traditional GPS technology unable to function due to interference from the overhead lines, two of Topcon’s Total Stations were used at the site; one for each crawler dozer. The GNSS technology used in the stations was then able to provide accurate readings for each dozer, despite the challenging circumstances.

Before the dozers could progress with earthworks, surveyors used the data from the Total Stations to create three-dimensional models of the finished project using Topcon’s MAGNET software. These models were then able to be easily shared with all stakeholders on the project which meant that the machinery could level the desired area with maximum accuracy and speed. The use of MAGNET meant complete oversight of the project was also available to the entire team, whether they were on-site or back in the office.

Kinkempois 5
Crawler dozers engaged in earthworks at Kinkempois operated in conjunction with Topcon Total Stations
Kinkempois 6
Data from the Total Stations was used to create three-dimensional models of the finished project using Topcon’s MAGNET software.

Stéphane explained: “Thanks to Topcon’s Total Stations, we were quickly able to level the terrain where necessary, with the advanced technology playing a key role in getting the job done perfectly, and on the first try. Traditionally, this has been a time-consuming process for projects like this, with a tracker on site who would manually ensure that the levels were correct. However, with total station technology, the process only took three shifts across two weekends, compared to six shifts across two weekends.

“Not only has the technology increased the accuracy and speed of the work we are doing, but since using the Topcon solutions, we have virtually doubled the operating hours of our teams."

To find out more about Topcon’s technology, visit: https://www.topconpositioning....

Read More: Surveying Instrumentation Transport & Logistics

Subscribe to our newsletter

Stay updated on the latest technology, innovation product arrivals and exciting offers to your inbox.