CGI Rail Signalling Simulations

Rail signal planning and optimisation is a complex process with major consequences across time, cost and safety for incorrect decision-making. Standard signalling uses 2D schematic diagrams like signal arrangement plans.

As the complexity of rail environments increases, the difficulty and intricacies of the planning and approvals process compounds. As the complexity and complexity of interfaces, and stakeholders, increases, rail signal planning and approval process has high levels of pressure for approvals in shorter timeframes.

As complexity increases of terrains, headways, multi-modal connections, interfaces with pedestrian access or freight corridors, operations and maintenance access, overlaps with variable signalling systems and ETCS, sub-surface routes, tunnels, bridges, temporary and permanent works, adjacent sites, gantries and other rail assets increases, lighting and environment issues and more – then the difficulty and risk profile of rail signal planning increases.

Errors and assumptions in rail signalling placements has serious time, cost and safety consequences. Impacts include constructability, rebuilds and reworks, delays to commissioning, rail pilot sighting, maintenance and safety across users and assets. Rail signalling errors have occurred on multiple major urban rail upgrade projects, causing increased costs, delays, rebuilds and reputation impacts.

Some of the challenges with standard rail signal planning include:

  • Difficulty in visualizing complex arrangements in complex rail interfaces such as junctions and stations with intricate signal arrangements. Schematics can be difficult to represent accurately which can lead to errors or misunderstandings that compromise safety or performance.
  • Schematics can make it difficult to understand how signals, tracks, and other components interact with each other in a real three-dimensional space. This can lead to incorrect signal placement or unclear signalling on routes.
  • Schematics may not provide enough context to understand how signals and other components fit into the context. This can lead to errors in signalling sequencing, routing, and overlap.
  • The use of complex technical language, symbols, and notations in 2D drawings and schematics can make it difficult to communicate effectively among stakeholders with different backgrounds and expertise and win approvals to progress.
  • 3D CAD programme visualisations (such as Revizto, Revit or NavisWorks) provide low detail, cartoon like approximations and lack the fidelity to give confidence to audiences. Outputs from 3D CAD/BIM tools have led to major errors in decisions and breakdowns in trust between builders and operators, causing delays of years.


Metro Trains Melbourne, (MTM), Kiwirail, Queensland Rail, Cross River Rail, John Holland Group, UGL, V/Line, CPB, PTA, Acciona and others we have proven that Urban CGI physics-based signal sighting approvals has delivered certainty, efficiency and productivity to railway signalling projects.

and outcomes impact on costs, time, approvals, engagement, rebuilds, integration, training and testing across the asset lifecycle.

Project managers and rail signalling managers have been incorporating CGI railway signalling to improve speed, certainty, communications and accuracy in planning and testing signal arrangements,

With clearer documentation and more effective collaboration amongst stakeholders.

Using these same products for 3D CGI rail signal training and induction has had consequential cost reduction and training improvement impacts to enhance clarity, certainty and consistency.

Urban CGI signalling simulations use AAA quality physics-based simulation technologies to accurately and realistically simulate the operation of a rail signalling system live and in real time.

Rail signal simulations are used to test and optimize the design of a new signalling system, or to troubleshoot and resolve issues with existing systems.

CGI simulations include a variety of elements, such as train movement, signal behaviour, and communication systems, and can be used to simulate a wide range of different scenarios, such as train delays, signal failures, and emergency situations. Rail signalling simulations provide a powerful tool for rail signalling and network planning experts to improve the safety and efficiency of rail transportation systems.


  1. Infrastructure and project managers seek easy accessibility instructions for testing, proving and training operations and maintenance units. The CGI Platform enables clients to utilise accessibility testing and instructional tools across elements and locations to a fine grained human scale.
  2. Communications from the CGI Planner are utilised for CGI communications videos, images and web-based tools across the asset lifecycle from community and stakeholder communications, work instructions, disruptions, executive briefings and storytelling across topics.   
  3. Temporary works planning for construction, maintenance, layout planning, pre-starts and work method statements are available with the CGI Planner for use across the asset lifecycle, particularly in construction. The use of our easy-use asset placer of plant and equipment, transform, spline and builder tools, save system and controls are used in rail and infrastructure projects internationally to save time, reduce risk and incidents, improve instructions and test methods using digital rehearsals and digital graphical 3D instructions.  
  4. Safety Training is a part of the scope of clients – including virtual reality safety training tools. UC build VR training tools as per the scope after successful collaboration on other safety training projects – including working at heights, safety-critical communications, laydown area management, and vulnerable road users. Situational awareness training during operations and construction is a key training issue for the client. The CGI Platform developed for your project works can be leveraged by other use cases to reduce overall costs and provide compounding beenfit.  

Rail signal simulations provide a powerful tool to improve the safety and efficiency of rail systems while reducing costs, and risk and improving overall performance.

  1. Cost-effective training: Rail signal simulations allow for cost-effective training of rail signalling and network planning experts, without the need for expensive physical testing.
  2. Optimization of rail systems: The simulations can be used to test and optimize the design of new signalling systems, which can improve the safety and efficiency of rail transportation.
  3. Troubleshooting and problem-solving: The simulations can be used to troubleshoot and resolve issues with existing signalling systems, reducing downtime and improving overall performance.
  4. Safety improvement: Using simulations to train and test different scenarios, such as train delays, signal failures, and emergency situations, can improve overall safety for both passengers and workers.
  5. Better decision-making: By simulating different scenarios, government transport agencies can make more informed decisions about the design and operation of rail signalling systems.
  6. Cost savings: By simulating the operation of a rail signalling system, agencies can identify potential issues before they occur in the real world, reducing the need for costly repairs and maintenance.
Railway signalling planning and simulation using interactive videos
Rail Signal Planning -IRSE Paper Paper produced for the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE) regarding signal sighting. 
Rail Signal Planning and Simulation of Operation
Rail signal operation simulation
Rail signal planning and simulation of installation and placement
Rail Signal installation simulation
Rail Signal Planning and Simulation of Signalling Operations on coastal view
Rail signal sighting on coastal view
Rail Signal Planning on Operation using Simulation Display
Rail Signal Simulation with Interactive Display of Tram on Railway
Rail signal planning and simulation to test auto signalling operation
Rail Signal Planning and Simulation using Incline and Line Speed Operation
rail signal operation simulation on interactive display
Data review and setup– Data receipt and handling
– Download static model from projectwise / revisto and others
– Data validation process – for suitability, quality and integrity
– Datum and coordinates consistency review
– 2D/3D consistency
– Survey data check – formats and gaps
– Data as examples provided in document ‘pictures’ in quoting conversations.
– Data update method process documentation
– Excludes lidar and photogrammetry
– Delivery programme solidified
Import Design Geometry– Import design geometry
– Track, structures, OLEs, stations, hoardings, utilities
– Up to 2 iterations per section of ‘final’ design geometry from ‘static models’
Optimise Geometry– Optimise geometry for CGI Sims – per item. Decimation and removal of inverted and duplicate geometry. Greater levels of optimisation for final designs to avoid repeated work.
Import and Manage Context Geometry– Single import Context Environment Geometry from client sources – terrain model and aerial photography
– Excludes capturing new context data (ie photogrammetry or LiDAR)
– Optimise and LoD context environment for performance management
– Review photogrammetry in revisto (ideally source package) for suitability, LoDing, accuracy and datum – manage.
Integrate context and design model– Trim context data to design information – Boolean editor trim.
– Removal of extraneous/dirty data near to track from design packages and survey data – eg photogrammetry trees near alignment if required
Context Structures and ElementsCorridor Structures including fencing. Add access points adjacent / nearby the corridor including gates, fencing and road ends.
Add overlays of provided lease boundaries on toggle switch for testing access and maintenance. Add to visibility switches and layers.
Context VegetationContext Vegetation.
Add trees from CGI library with textures and wind response animation. Options: LoD options for exact vegetation placements. New species purchased or built. Use of LiDAR, photogrammetry, aerial and site photography for vegetation matching. Add shrubs and low vegetation to LoD needed.
Track– Optimisation for CGI performance
– Add shaders and materials including bump/normal maps
– Parallax textures and shaders for sleepers and ballast
– Add crossovers
Stations– Optimisation for real-time performance
– Standard materials
– Textures for functional realism of major features – roof, sofit, walls, platform surface and edges
– Excludes detailing of stations including signage, wayfinding, tactiles, minor fencing, fingers etc
Substations– Import substations from design models provided
– Push onto separate layer for show/hide easy visibility
– Add location points for quick-find substations
Bridges and civil structures– Optimisation for better real-time performance
– Texturing for functional realism of major civil structures
Construction Hoardings– Import construction hoardings as switchable layer for testing. Optimise for use in real time platform.
– GWA model provision of hoardings. Excludes additional modelling and imports.
– If 3D hoardings not available – Import control line of hoarding and extrude
– Note the hoarding/fence creator can be used in UC Planner for creating and adding fencing to any position using a spline layout tool – see images.
Access Tracks– Provide access track highlights from survey data or design information
– Enable walkability in 3rd person camera along access tracks for site access and constructability / maintenance testing
– Brownfield Albion to Ginifer – no change so use aerials
– Greenfield Corridor – SSA to provide based off ACP model.
– Greenfield AVP (viaduct) Access is via walkways – provided in model by AJM / AVP packages
Design / model iterations
Kinematic envelopes of rolling stock– Create kinematic volumes by train type from cross-section x 1 as swept path volume
– Multiple kinematic volumes by train movement and speed (left, right)
– Add to layer visibility – show/hide
– Standard materials and colours
Envelopes of rail antennae– Swept path of envelope volumes by train type
– Add to layer visibility – show/hide
– Add to layer visibility – show/hide
Layer setup for show/hide visibility– Build layering to show-hide infrastructure elements
– Examples – services, masts, context, vegetation, OLEs, structures, stations.
Geoposition, chainage and Environment setup– Geo-position location and datum setup – GDA 94/ MGA 55
– Chainage import and setup – from centrelines assumed correct and 3D
– Search by chainage setup by track
– Time and Date setup
– Sun, moon, wind, daylight, glare, rain, snow
– Geo-position (Melbourne, Victoria) setup
– Easting-Northing setup
Centre-lines setup for parametric tools– Import centrelines – if suitable accuracy
– If centrelines and vertices are not exactly correct in XYZ then rolling stock and parametric calculations will not function correctly
– Centrelines need to be accurate to millimetres for system to work with confidence
– If not suitable accuracy for physics-based simulations, rebuild to accuracy required
Signal Sighting System Setup– Setup signals (approximate) based on SAP inputs
– Run Signalling workshop with client team to teach signalling tools
– Parametric inclusions – interface for client team DIY to change parameters and/or UC ‘be the hands’ via 3x ‘game engine’ workshops (see interface example images below)
    – Line Select
    – Line speed at point and changes of line speed
    – Instantaneous incline (percent and ratio)
    – A-B-C signals
    – Mast position including mast radius
    – Various signal components including ladder, half-mast, arrows, signage name boards, call-outs as sprite labels)
    – Axle Counter
    – Train Stop Switch
    – Belize position
    – Camera height / offset (ie driver position)
    – Interface dashboard summary – pull-out features as required (current includes signal chainage, driver chainage, line speed,
– Report information of current signal plan arrangement to suit Signal Sighting Assessment reports. Geo-position in Easting and Northing of mast and centre-points, as well as chainage position.
TRA mast placement module

Phase 1 – TRA Sandbox
– TRA Mast Sandbox development – phase 1
– 4 x 60mins facilitate workshops to refine parametric TRA mast locations
– Extension to Signal Sighting module
– TRA elements creation – components from specification with Alstom, SSA and others (client to invite contacts).
– Factors to include:
– Positions of masts by chainage. Radius of masts.
– Heights of aerials – Aerial can move vertically along mast pole and adjust parametrically
– Number of aerials
– Offsets of aerials (distance from mast centreline)
– Position of foundations – linked to masts
– Position of TRA Box
– TRA Masts including foundation – size of foundation – select by type
– TRA Box including foundation
– Pits
– Norming Points
Phase 2
– Solidify and package the Aerial to Antenna module.
– Deploy across alignment.
– Publish to UC Planner cloud for client access.
– Number of TRA masts – up to 100.
TRA mast Aerial to Antennae dynamic link and visibility modulePhase 1 sandbox
– Build smart antennae and smart aerials for dynamic real-time line of site visibility Nominate TRA mast groups as A groups and B groups
– Build test algorithm for dynamic line-of sight connectivity between antennae and aerials
– Line of sight beam changes colour based on TRA mast group type (A or B group)
– Line of sight beam has maximum length (eg 500m)
– Line of sight beam changes colour if obscured / clear line
– Build to approximate centre point of rolling stock
– Allow scrubbing of trains
– QA and test with client
Phase 2 – refine
– Solidify and package the Aerial to Antenna module.
– Deploy across alignment.
– Publish to UC Planner cloud for client access.
CBTC marker boards– Function for CBTC marker board parametric controls as an input
– Position via chainage
– Offset
– Rotation
– Height
– Number of boards – up to 12
TRA Box and mast clash detection with servicesPhase 1 – TRA sandbox
– Test layer if non available.
– Tag services layer.
– Clash detection – services
– Add clash buffer zone around TRA Box and mast foundations, TRA pad – to specifications form client (eg 0.5m – 1m 3D exclusion shape)
– When TRA mast or TRA Box foundations shifted via parametric outputs, highlighted notification of clash if foundations intersect with utilities.
Phase 2
– Import services information from design – add materials, textures and visible differentiation. Assumed complete models. Solidify and package the module.
– Deploy across alignment.
– Publish to UC Planner cloud for client access.
Aerial envelope real time visualisationPhase 1 – TRA Sandbox and test
– From aerial signal coverage inputs – provide real time dynamic overlay envelope from aerial to indicate coverage of track / aerial envelope with aerial signal – includes dynamic visualisation of overlaps and redundancies Show-hide toggle for envelope coverage.
Phase 2
– Solidify and package the module.
– Deploy across alignment.
– Publish to UC Planner cloud for client access.
CCTV locations– CCTV geometry placed in model from design information
– CCTV field of view, rotation, roll, assessed
– Adjust CCTV location in UC editor and re-test visibility around site
– Provide easting-northing and RL of new position in CSV report
– Excluded. No longer required (on advice).
Image / Snapshot Capture– Capture image with interface of metrics including signal / TRA mast statistics for use in reports and audits. Includes viewer position in easting/northing.
– Saves to local VM – download.
Measurement– RL measurement – click and place RL measures
– 3D measurement for heights – click and measure
– Note – this is different to the signal sighting tool measurement tools, which is linked to the camera
CSR models– Separate and import CSR structures and associated structures (vertical supports)
– Optimise
– Materials and textures
– Add to a visibility toggle – for show/hide
– Allowance for 2 CSR iterations
Cameras– Free fly camera
– First person camera – male or female, high definition model, animated movement, climb, walk, run, fly, jump and infinite jump.
– Bendigo Line up/down preset camera – driver height (ie 2 cameras)
– Sunbury Line up/down preset camera – driver height (ie 2 cameras)
– Melbourne Airport Line up/down preset camera – driver height (ie 2 cameras)
– NRP – see camera location
Field of View / Zoom– Default camera zoom at 45 degrees
– Zoom in/out – eg zoom to signal head or any other feature
– Field of view slider with feedback on zoom level
Location shortcuts– Up to 10 location points for quick-zoom-to locations
– NRP – New Regional Platform
– Others selected by client – typically signal locations, substations crossings, features and stations
Line highlight-Toggle to highlight lines – as per specification. Lines highlighted based on centelines provided.
– Each line have colour for easy demarcation and visibility.
– Tottenham Station to Albion;
    – Sunbury Line – Up Track
    – Sunbury Line – Down Track
    – Bendigo Up – Sunbury Up Track – Chaplin Reserve to Albion Station
Oncoming train and position– Oncoming train show/hide
– Select by train type
– Select line
– Select chainage position with scrubber –
– chainage based on client (GWA DNOP)
– Pivot point (position) at front of train
– Excludes animated or simulated train
– Excludes train interiors
– Includes UC based rolling stock
Animated trains– Independently simulated trains on correct tracks, moving at approximate speeds, stopping at stations.
– Excluded as not required (from advice).
Camera chainage position– Based on chainage input data – move position of camera along chainage to any chainage position
– Chainage input data from client side / 3rd party
Constructability testing / temporary works– Use of UC Platform asset library – includes plant and hi-rail
– Select available assets in real-time and place in scene
– Add, place and transform assets
– Save assets
– Set-up works method statements
– Use capture tool for plan captures
Maintenance & Access testing– Use a combination of the UC asset placer for access, and UC advanced 3rd person cameras for track access, walking paths
– UC 3rd person includes advanced character capsule for testing tight spaces and accessing difficult locations in 3rd person
– Access testing from adjacent sites with gates, roads and fencing will require the advanced modelling feature for extra context. UC modellers will use recent aerial photos and client input for access points.
Platform Setup & Deployment– Initiation and setup
– Template optimisation
– 1 x training workshop (90mins)
– Features and tools implementation
– Deployment
UC Planner Cloud Access– 500 hours over 36 months for up to 3 login subscription to UC Platform on AWS VM (Australian Data Centre).
– Data Hosting and multiple server streaming (S3 to VM)
– Advanced GPU VM included
– Maintenance and AWS VM ICT support
– NB – no data is transmitted to viewer computers other than image and report downloads for higher security. All project data managed and uploaded via UC Services.
rail signal operation simulation on interactive display
Rail signal planning and simulation on coastal view
Rail signaling planning auto signal simulation