Automating Asset Management - Rail Assets

Sparca Civic™


In the UK alone, there are over 20,000 miles of railway line and over 30,000 bridges and tunnels. The maintenance of the former has traditionally been a labour-intensive job, particularly since some railway assets date back to the 1800s.

Brick-lined tunnels and bridges – the most dated assets on the network – offer a unique challenge to monitor and maintain. They need specialist surveyors and, more often than not, line closures.

How could we use technology to reduce both the downtime and man hours, whilst increasing efficiencies and lowering overall costs?


Technology has already been adopted in the assessment and management of these types of assets. Lidar and point-cloud or 3D laser scans are commonly used and most recently drone assessments have been deployed to capture imagery.

All these technologies offer different data points to work from, but none currently aggregates the data. Post survey also still requires a lot of man hours to get anything meaningful to action or report.

Aggregating these data sources into a consolidated vision which can automatically assess certain degrees of severity which are objective and actionable would be a step forward in reducing costs and maximising your asset management strategy.


Sparca, working with a specialist surveyor, have co-developed a system and methodology that takes point-cloud data and drone imagery and translates them into both a 3D colour severity model and a 2D flattened model for closer assessment and grading. From this 2D interpretation, we are able to colour code the severity of areas, extract certain key features such as joints and spalling and then grade them based on depth. This system can be used both as a triaging system for early detection of problem areas and for more intense survey lead assessments.

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