Digital Engineering in rail

PWI rail presentation

With the rapid update of digital engineering tools across rail projects, Shoal was invited to provide a technical presentation at the Permanent Way Institute (PWI) South Australian chapter AGM.  The PWI is dedicated to sharing technical knowledge for people working in rail infrastructure systems and arranged for Shoal to provide a technical presentation. Graduate Engineer, Thomas Jacquier, presented ‘Digital Engineering in rail – A complex systems perspective’ on 1 December 2022, where he discussed digital engineering in rail from a complex systems perspective.

Rail transport projects have seen the rapid uptake of digital engineering tools, including software applications and databases, over several years to capture, design, analyses and to manage information. Each tool generally serves its own purpose for specific disciplines, whether it is to manage requirements, analyse asset reliability, model the rail system, develop track designs, etc. Typically, these tools hold representations of the same data. Generally, there is no streamlined, automatic method to ensure this common data is current across all tools. This creates a configuration management issue, with associated high risks to the project. Most projects are typically manually transferring this data across excel spread sheets, emails etc.

Thomas looked at how to bring this common data together wholistically across the entire infrastructure lifecycle. Across rail projects, he introduced model-based systems engineering (MBSE), and the concept of middleware, showing how rail infrastructure projects can have disciplines and their data that are better integrated, such as Safety Assurance, Requirements Engineering, and RAM.

The presentation is available here.