The project ‘Zevenaar Integrated Railway’ (in Dutch: ‘Zevenaar Integraal Spoorwerk’) is strongly characterized by a multidisciplinary collaboration. One of the top Dutch engineering firms, Movares, coordinates a large number of subcontractors and supplies engineering for all disciplines. Dura Vermeer, a Dutch multidisciplinary contractor with more than 165 years of experience, is responsible for the construction as the main contractor.
The project ‘Zevenaar Integrated Railway’ enables running more and faster trains. Appointed by the client, Movares and Dura Vermeer will design and build the new track from the Betuweroute to the German border. The client for this project is ProRail, the Dutch government organization that manages the national rail infrastructure, distribution of rail capacity, and rail traffic control.
Due to the complex landscape, with various tracks and overhead lines, the project is very challenging and faces several innovations, such as a voltage lock. Furthermore, the layout of the emplacements Zevenaar and Zevenaar-Oost has been radically changed and equipped with new safety systems. Usage of Relatics helps both parties to manage the large number of interfaces and requirements to build a track that enables improvement of the accessibility of the region.
Extremely complex landscape
“Freight trains on the Betuweroute cannot travel along the same track as regular trains. This due to the rail protection system and 1500-volt overhead lines on the regular track. The Betuweroute is configured with ERTMS and a 25kV overhead line. Freight trains, therefore, had to make a transition in order to be able to continue on the regular track, and then make a transition again at the border to the German track”, explains Joost Poot, process manager at Dura Vermeer. “This caused delays and increased the chance of malfunctions, because the main function of the track changed from a passenger railway to a freight railway. It was decided to convert the regular track to ERTMS and a 25kV overhead line. This allows more and faster trains to run.”
As a design manager at Movares, Frank Hasper, is responsible for the integral coordination of technical designs. He explains why the project is so complex: “We have built an innovative voltage lock to prevent a train from having to stop to make the transition to a different overhead line voltage. This also meant designing an interface to the existing track, to the Betuwe track and to the track in Germany. This in coordination with the German railway management company Deutsche Bahn. All the interfacing systems must be able to communicate with each other, including the safety systems. In addition, the transfer of information to the Dutch and German train traffic control had to be designed and built. For example: regarding the status of and the controlled switching ‘on and off’ of the overhead line. This so that in the event of a calamity or maintenance work, traffic control can handle information provision.”
Project Zevenaar – photo by Jorrit Lousberg – source: Dura Vermeer
Interface management in Zevenaar
Relatics’ cloud-based application enables interface manager Peter Musters to maintain a helicopter view of the multidisciplinary project and monitor compliance. And thus, forms the backbone for his work on the project.
“An AC voltage overhead line, instead of a DC voltage line, is not standard in the Netherlands. It only occurs on two dedicated lines; the Southern High Speed Line (international passenger transport) and the Betuweroute (freight transport). As a result, more than 20 percent of the work in Zevenaar is with non-standard solutions and there were a large number of ‘black boxes’ at the start of the project”, says Musters. “At the same time, the client has imposed many contract requirements on us, and we have the task of proving that we have met them. As the project develops over time, we need to match new insights and information to the contract requirements and report back to the client. Relatics plays a central role in managing all this information.”
Throughout the project life cycle, there are immense volumes of designs, forms, drawings, requirements, and changes to be processed. Relatics incorporates processes for design, contract requirements, and interfaces to support compliance. Musters clarifies: “At the start of the project, we made an inventory of different disciplines and how they are linked: safety systems, power supply, cabling, track, overhead lines and telecommunication systems among others. For example, six different systems must be linked together at the Zevenaar yard, which had never been done in this way before. We had to map out the interfaces, how they could be coordinated, where subcontractors would interfere, what would fit in terms of planning. This required engineers to develop very detailed interfaces, right down to the definition of bolts and nuts, which always had to be linked back to contract requirements.”
In control through alignment
Movares has been working with Relatics for years. During the implementation of ‘Zevenaar Integrated Railway’, the Dura Vermeer project team also switched to this solution.
“We were constantly fine-tuning relevant information, because Movares and Dura Vermeer managed information in different systems. This was anything but efficient and that does not suit Dura Vermeer’s way of working”, Poot explains.
“We saw no reason why Relatics could not be the best solution for our joint challenge. It became a true project information management tool, which has contributed to our collaboration.”
– Joost Poot, Process Manager at Dura Vermeer.
“Change management is a lot more difficult if you work with different information management systems. We used that experience to tackle this in a much more integrated way”, adds Hasper. “A design and its requirements verification are now being completed in Relatics. Changes to a design are stored digitally, which saves a lot of administrative work and prevents mistakes due to incorrect information management caused by unreceived emails or incorrect attachments. By defining common interfaces in Relatics, we can anticipate verifications and potential problems, such as a mismatch between cabling used by subcontractors. A tool, such as Relatics, is essential to guarantee compliance, especially to manage this properly in a complex project like Zevenaar.”
First time right
“With a system like Relatics, the quality increases enormously because of the ‘first time right principle’. Far fewer mistakes are made, because the correct information is always available, traceable, and transparent”, Musters adds.
For the interface manager, Relatics plays an important role in the validation of work.
“There is an increasing demand for compliance and the verification and validation processes are becoming more challenging. Engineers must demonstrate in their design in Relatics whether they have taken into account certain requirements. Relatics thus shows that requirements have been met, according to the contract. And this allows us to easily communicate and update the client.”
– Peter Musters, Interface Manager at Movares.
Musters also says: “We are also able to easily include external parties who come to conduct an audit in the process. To them, it was quickly clear that we were in control.”
“The biggest advantage of working with Relatics is the single source of truth. Everyone has access to the correct information, in real-time. Of course, information must initially be uploaded to Relatics, but the fact that people no longer work with separate lists and sheets with changes, helps enormously to maintain an overview”, says Hasper.
“For engineering firms such as Movares, Relatics can also contribute to the profitability of the organization. By splitting large projects into small, manageable pieces of work, you achieve smaller and more manageable deliverables. This in turn ensures that you can deliver more easily and therefore get paid faster by your client.”
– Frank Hasper, Design Manager at Movares.
Just like Hasper, Musters also mentions the single source of truth as an advantage: “Relatics eliminates the chaos of working in different documents and information carriers. This has an enormous quality-enhancing effect. I can’t quantify it, but I’m sure less failure costs have been incurred in Zevenaar by using Relatics.” Still, the role of Relatics is primarily supportive, he thinks. “Interface managers should not hide behind a screen. It is through personal consultation that they spot and solve potential problems in time. You must retrieve the correct information yourself. Relatics ensures that this information remains managed and is available to everyone.”
Poot on digitization and his experience with Relatics: “Dura Vermeer wants to be a leader in the market. By paying attention to issues such as digitization, we can meet the preconditions to be the future-oriented, efficient partner that our customers need. Working with Relatics made project information management more efficient.” He also sees the advantages of Relatics for further future-proofing the organization: “We are a learning organization and Relatics supports us in this. By working in Relatics, and actually documenting our choices, we gain insights that are useful for our other projects as well.”
Overhead Lines – photo by Jorrit Lousberg – source: Dura Vermeer