It's all about clearance
Put simply, gauging is the measurement of trains and everything around it. It assesses the compatibility between the train and the network it runs on. Gauging contains a series of engineering decisions and parameters to lessen the risk of the train striking something when it is in service. It is a critical safety requirement, and any element of rolling stock, infrastructure and electrification schemes must all prove that the clearances have been considered and include safe distances.
Modern-day gauging challenges
At the inception of the railway, standardised sizes were used for trains and the infrastructure. This worked well, when infrastructure was larger than the train, there was little chance of any clashes.
As the railway gained traction and train manufacturers became more sophisticated in production, larger trains were created to accommodate more passengers, toilets and increased freight. The challenge, however, was to ensure that these larger vehicles could still run on the railway which was widely built to the same standardised height and width. This challenge remains today.
The future of gauging
A new methodology has unlocked more room on the network. Probabilistic gauging is a revolutionary method which assesses the factors of gauging on a probability scale. Find out more about our recent success with using probabilistic pantograph gauging.