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RailWorks Helps Improve Track Survey Results

RailWorks worked with Amberg Technologies to help improve its track surveying tool report formatting for RailWorks' New York City Transit (NYCT) Authority jobs. RailWorks' requested changes to the surveying tool's reports made sense to NYCT; the Authority now requires other contractors to use the same modifications.

RailWorks Transit’s requested changes to a track surveying tool were so right for the New York City Transit (NYCT) Authority that NYCT now requires other contractors to use the same modifications.

At issue was the fact that the reporting format used by the Amberg Trolley, a highly specialized mobile track measurement tool, didn’t match the reporting produced by the NYCT track geometry car. As RailWorks Transit Track Superintendent Luis Nieves explains, RailWorks Transit’s Track group had the challenge of reviewing the “apples” report generated from the Amberg device and making track modifications that it hoped would meet the specifications shown in the “oranges” report produced by the NYCT geometry car. “We RailWorks would build as perfectly as we it could,” Luis says, “but we had no way to check what the geometry car was going to read. We’d order the car, it would run through the tracks, and it would show us where there was a deficiency. In a worst-case scenario,” while attempting to correct issues to NYCT specifications, “we might go back and forth like this two or three times.”

To eliminate the variations between the reports and any subsequent repeat visits by the geometry car, RailWorks approached Amberg Technologies about rewriting software to make their trolley’s report format match that of NYCT’s track geometry car.

“That’s what they were able to do for us,” says Jeff Nalbone, project manager, RailWorks Transit. “Now, we can build a track, run the trolley, get a printout, and make the corrections. And when the geometry car comes out, they ideally can do it once. That is the final piece of any job; they run the car and once it gives us a perfect reading, the job is done.”

The improvements are reducing the need for post-rail adjustments by up to 95 percent. NYCT liked the results so well that began requiring the Amberg Trolley and the RailWorks-inspired report format on all its track-related projects.

RailWorks continues to work with Amberg Technologies to perfect the apples-to-apples reporting. Meanwhile, the technology shows promise for use on the Signals & Communications side of NYCT business. RailWorks personnel have traveled to Amberg Technologies headquarters in Switzerland to pursue adjustments, which are in the research-and-development phase.

RailWorks Transit’s focus on the customer led to improvements that not only helped NYCT refine its operating practices, but also led to improved productivity for RailWorks operations. By taking the initiative, RailWorks demonstrated its leadership in the industry to drive quality improvements in standard NYCT operating practices.