With RailCOMPLETE towards a new way of working

We live in a time of rapid digital development on all fronts. In some industries, this has resulted in an urgent need for new expertise, and now also in infrastructure. After 14 years as a qualified electrician, Kristine Jensen Wendt decided to pursue a further education programme at a professional education institution, Oslo Fagskole, which would give her an edge in the workplace. As she has worked with railways for a long time, she chose us at RailCOMPLETE as her partner for one of her school assignments.

Close co-operation

“Working closely with the business community in my industry is important and useful. That’s how we learn the most about what’s going on out there. Fortunately, I got a tip from Bane NOR to talk to Claus Feyling at RailCOMPLETE, and that was simply worth its weight in gold. Not only did I get to work with a very good player in the market – I got a private tutor in the bargain!”

Kristin says that she not only learned about modelling in her collaboration with Claus, but also about requirements and rules. “A lot of what he knows is engineering food in railway design, so that was an exciting bonus to bring into both the learning and the assignment.”

A school for the industry

One of the most important aspects of the structure of the school, Oslo Fagskole, is to learn more and, not least, to experience more of what you will actually encounter out there. “When we started this programme in 2008, there was full focus on BIM construction for buildings and small facilities,” says Steffen Øpstad Hamborg, BIM subject teacher at Oslo Fagskole. “Over time, industry has given clear signals of the need for other specialisations, and it’s clear that it’s important for us to look at this.” Steffen has a long history with the school and talks about a development and demand that is only growing. “Strictly speaking, you could say that the programme first focused mostly on the building itself through BIM Construction, then everything that was inside it through BIM Installation – and now we have focused on the outside through BIM Infrastructure. There are ever-increasing demands for expertise from clients, and we want the students to be able to help respond to this expertise.”

Steffen and the others at Oslo Fagskole are trying to meet this demand. “The school will always work to meet the needs of business and industry, so we do our utmost to introduce new solutions and software that students will acquire during the school year.

We focus on teaching students to deliver good quality, high accuracy and control over data, regardless of their future role in the labour market.”

RailCOMPLETE is a solution that can contribute to this in teaching and is highly relevant to the business world. “The fact that software suppliers go to great lengths to offer free student versions and training for their BIM software is very positive for both us and the students,” says Steffen.

Licensed software as part of the programme

Kristine and the other students recognise the importance of being up to date on the software front. “I would recommend that you learn about a lot of programmes to be prepared for what you encounter out there,” says Kristine. “There are so many plug-ins and different ways of doing things, so getting a broad experience of many programmes is probably a key to being able to adapt to the working life we’ll be entering.”

Claus Feyling is the general manager of RailCOMPLETE and is clear that the collaboration with Oslo Fagskole and Kristine Wendt has been important for the company behind the software, Railcomplete AS. “We want to get in touch with schools and students so that they are familiar with our software, can use it and request it when they enter the professional market. When different roles and disciplines within railway BIM use RailCOMPLETE, the work will have a much better coordination and workflow, which in turn provides a more efficient working day.”

Railcomplete AS wants to reach out beyond the Oslo Fagskole “That’s why we now offer affordable student licences to schools all over the country – send us an email if this sounds interesting.” says Claus Feyling.

BSI Game Event

IFC Rail 4×3

BuildingSMART International (BSI) is a standardisation organisation for exchange formats for the construction industry. In recent years, it has expanded its focus from buildings to road and railway projects, including bridges and tunnels.

Railcomplete AS has been a permanent member of the standards committee for Alignments With Cant of the IFC Rail 4×3 standard since 2020. The committee has developed specifications for the exchange of alignment objects, generating accurate mathematical descriptions for horizontal geometry, vertical profile and cant profile. Work has also been carried out to define the rules for translating a precise mathematical description into 3D geometry.

The aim is to be able to exchange not only the appearance of the tracks in 3D, but also the way they are defined internally. It will thus be possible for a modern IFC viewer to display a position not only in XYZ coordinates, but also in the form of a track name and a mileage value, while moving around in an IFC railway model.

During the International Standards Summit, which will be held from 27 to 30 March 2023 in Rome, BSI is organising a Serious Game event to show that the IFC Rail 4×3 standard is ready for use.

Six software producers will be present

Six software companies made their products available, including three Norwegian companies: Railcomplete (the authoring tool RailCOMPLETE®), Novapoint Norway (the authoring tool Novapoint®) and Catenda Hub (a BIM collaboration tool).

Tool type Organisation Tool for the game Type
ACCA usBIM Infra Desktop
Autodesk Civil3D 2023.2 with IFC4.3 update Desktop
RailCOMPLETE RailCOMPLETE with IFC Rail 4×3 alpha Desktop
SierraSoft SierraSoft Rails Desktop
Sogelink Georail Desktop
Trimble Trimble Quadri & Novapoint Railway Desktop
ACCA usBIM.ids Web
buildingSMART bSI Validation Service Web
Catenda Catenda Hub Web
ODA Open IFC Viewer Desktop
RDF Geometrical check + IFC validation Desktop
The Hard Code IDS checker + editor, IFC checker Web

Six teams

The participants come from various European railway administrations and service companies.

Six teams will be formed. Each team will be a balanced mix of novice and experienced users. Tools will be allocated to each team by lottery and each team will receive a short introduction from “their” tool provider.

Description of Challenge STN01 – Station 01

From the dataset provided, teams will have three hours to create a simple railway model, print it in IFC Rail 4×3 format, validate the IFC file and finally display the railway model in an IFC viewer.

The railway track proposed for this challenge has horizontal and vertical curves and variable superelevation. Two optical signals are to be inserted along the track. The track mileage must be correctly defined, and the optical signals must be placed at specified mileage points.

The IFC file produced shall contain the following elements:

– Identification of the software and its publisher.

– Identification of the company and the employee carrying out the project.

– Name and version of the project.

– Coordinate Reference System.

– Mathematical description of the track alignment in terms of horizontal geometry, vertical profile and cant (superelevation).

– Mathematical description of the linear placement of the two optical signals, with a specified lateral and vertical offset from the track alignment.

– 3D version of the model content. The organising committee dictates the appearance of the optical signals; each supplier is responsible for the 3D appearance of the track.

Figure 1: RailCOMPLETE combines business logic (mathematical formulation) and 3D geometry in a single editor

Figure 2: The Alignment Manager user interface in RailCOMPLETE – Horizontal Geometry

Figure 3: The Alignment Manager user interface in RailCOMPLETE – Vertical profile

Figure 4: The Alignment Manager user interface in RailCOMPLETE – Cant (superelevation)

And the winner is…

The jury will evaluate the effort and the result according to the team and the maturity of the tool used. The jury will check that the required elements are present in the IFC file, and that their values are correct.

Honour and glory await the winning team – but the first winner is the process itself: together we will have demonstrated that the IFC Rail 4×3 standard has become a reality.

The way forward – Model View Definition

The IFC language is extremely rich and therefore there are many ways to express the same concept. To ensure that there is a common understanding of IFC formulations, so that the exchange of data between partners does not result in loss of information, work is underway to specify the Model View Definition (MVD). This is a set of rules to be used by the sender and receiver when creating and checking IFC files. A particular railway administration, such as SNCF, will publish its own MVD, which will specify all the expectations and interpretations it applies to the exchange of IFC data for its own railway network. This will ensure consistency over time between data tools.

See also…



Rome Game Event Tool Providers


Multiconsult: RailCOMPLETE® is simple and incredibly advanced at the same time.

Instead of spending time correcting mistakes, we can spend time creating our own solutions. RailCOMPLETE is simple and unbelievably advanced at the same time. This is fun to work with, says Svein Magnus Furu, consulting engineer at Multiconsult..
bildet viser en mann som peker på illustrasjoner på en tavle
Illustration: Railcomplete AS
He was one of the first in Multiconsult to adopt RailCOMPLETE. “We heard about RailCOMPLETE from our network and started testing it. We liked it, and we have been fully using it for about three years”, Furu says. Multiconsult is one of Norway’s and Scandinavia’s leading consulting companies within architecture, technical consultancy and planning. Of the many subject areas, the area of ​​Transport and Mobility is central, which, among other elements, involves designing of railway solutions and stations. “We had an early opportunity to test the solution. The developers have kept in touch and listened to many of our suggestions. Being able to take part in the process of developing the system at the same time as we work on projects has been a slightly different way of thinking. It has been very useful”, Furu says. An elegant solution Designing and developing solutions for railways is an extremely interdisciplinary process with many areas to be adapted between eachother. Lots of objects within the various subject areas must be placed and coordinated, and adjustments take place continuously in the design process. “In the past, we have spent a lot of time designing drawings and models. It was a very manual process with a huge risk of errors. We used ‘dumb’ systems that didn’t talk to each other, where everything had to be entered manually. RailCOMPLETE solves this in a very elegant way”, Furu says. “When you now make changes, you do it in a central database, and all elements in the system are automatically updated. This means that a substantial part of the process that was previously manual has been automated. At the same time, we have removed many sources of errors. This is a great strength of the system”, he adds. Changes are made automatically Multiconsult uses the system from RailCOMPLETE primarily for the design of overhead catenary systems (OCS) and earthing. A central part of designing a railway with all elements and objects is to create a three-dimensional CAD representation. “The part of the program that creates a 3D representation is closely linked to the database. You thereby avoid a lot of ‘fiddling’, for example when moving an OCS pole. Now you can just change numerical values, and everything will update. If you move an OCS pole by three meters, then the many other items who are dependent must be adapted. Before, as mentioned, this had to be done manually – now, it is done automatically”. Furu explains that he once did a test to check how long it took him to make an exact replica of a three kilometer long railway catenary network – in both 2D and 3D. “It took a tenth of the usual time to get to an 80 percent level of quality, and that is very good”, Furu says.
bildet viser fire menn rundt et bort som ser på en skjerm med illustasjoner
Illustration: Railcomplete AS
“Does this mean that projects can also become less expensive to implement?” “Yes, it does. We see this as a competitive advantage for us. Companies that use RailCOMPLETE have a competitive edge over those who don’t, simply because of the achieved quality. With RailCOMPLETE, we have good control over data quality, and our data are always up to date”, Furu says. Some errors and a lot of positive sides RailCOMPLETE is relatively new. It is developed in collaboration with the end users, which is a collaboration form with various challenges for users. “The system is fun to work with because it’s fun to obtain results quickly, a joy that is probably inherent in most people. But there are some frustrations and challenges here too. It’s not all ‘gold’, but there is a lot that is very positive”, Furu says. “Where do you think RailCOMPLETE can improve?” “Working with RailCOMPLETE is a little different from other systems. We are closely involved in the development process. While this ensures rapid release of new features, it also leads to buggy releases which requires us to find workarounds until such bugs have been rectified”, Furu says. He nevertheless summarizes that users have good control over objects and data, and the time to obtain OK data quality in a model is short.

Railcomplete at InnoTrans 2022

The benefits of RailCOMPLETE (R)

RailCOMPLETE® is an AutoCAD® plug-in for planning railway systems with a high level of detail. We combine the planning of control and safety technology, overhead lines, track systems, cable ducts, low-voltage systems and earthing in one tool. Since 2015, we have been working tirelessly and passionately to revolutionise the world of planning tools and deliver real added value to our customers. With RailCOMPLETE, we want to make our contribution to the modernisation of the rail industry, digital planning processes and the achievement of uniform standards in the European rail market.

We have come a long way in recent years and have continuously improved and expanded RailCOMPLETE. In the meantime, the tool has a range of functions that partially automate the planning process for control and safety technology and overhead contact line systems.

This has not gone undetected in the railway industry: Our first customer was the engineering service provider Norconsult AS in Norway, which is still Railcomplete AS’ largest customer. Since then, the companies Sweco and Multiconsult have joined. These three companies are leaders in overhead contact line planning in Norway. Norconsult is also a planning office in the field of control and safety technology for mainline railway.

Cooperations with SNCF, Deutsche Bahn and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. have already demonstrated the benefits of RailCOMPLETE far beyond the Norwegian borders.

InnoTrans is the world’s largest trade fair for transport technology. Every two years, Berlin becomes the meeting place for the industry to present innovations, to explore new trends and to exchange ideas.

Over the past few years, RailCOMPLETE has been continuously expanded and improved in terms of function, scope and user experience. We will present the results of our work and the possibilities in planning processes using RailCOMPLETE at two demo stands.

We will give an introduction to the tool and show how RailCOMPLETE can save time in the planning process, minimise errors and save personnel resources on the basis of concrete use cases.

RailCOMPLETE® launches version 2022.2: Improved 3D functionality and user experience

Since 2015, we at Railcomplete AS have been working tirelessly to make our vision for planning tools in the railway market come true: all relevant planning projects around the railway line, united in one tool. With our version update 2022.2 we have come one step closer to this goal.

The history of RailCOMPLETE is characterised by continuous improvements and extensions to our software – the tool already has a large number of functions that partially automate the planning process for control and safety technology and catenary systems. With the version update 2022.2, we are again improving the user experience and expanding our functions: Large models are accelerated and we introduce a new interface for the 3D representation of point objects and alignment objects.

3D graphics can be broken down into smaller parts and then parametrically reassembled to display an object in 3D.

An example of how this can look is shown below with a light pole, which at the same time provides a glimpse of the upcoming NO-BN-DNA-2022.a update:

Figure 1: Light pole expressed as 11 parametrically controlled parts

One patch – many possibilities

With RC version 2022.2, the possibilities for the users become more transparent and at the same time considerably expanded. In the new version, only those commands are displayed that are available for the respective license level of the user.

We have also added advanced settings for OffsetProfiles and a profile offset that moves the PVIs orthogonally to the source.

RailCOMPLETE 2022.2 and a detailed list of all function changes can be downloaded from www.railcomplete.com/rcdl.

Highlights of the RailCOMPLETE® development – A BIM success story

The planning process for electrotechnical systems in railway engineering is characterised by many system discontinuities, different planning procedures in control and safety technology and overhead line construction. The planning process is not yet based on a standardised data model and consistent data management. In addition, each national railway in Europe has its own planning procedure.

That was the starting point for me, Claus Feyling and my team, to begin developing a generic planning tool. Since the beginnings in 2015  RailCOMPLETE has been constantly expanded with new functions. Today, the tool has a wide range of functions that partially automate the planning process of the control and safety technology and catenary systems and thus make it more economical for the end customer – planning periods are shortened and the planning effort is reduced. You can find more details about this in the tutorial: Introduction to RailCOMPLETE v2021.0.pdf

Our first customer was the engineering service provider Norconsult AS in Norway, which is still Railcomplete AS’ largest customer today. Since then the companies Sweco AS and Multiconsult AS have joined . These companies are leaders in overhead contact line planning in Norway, and Norconsult is also a planning office in the field of control and safety technology for long-distance traffic. You can see a current project example from Norconsult AS here: RailCOMPLETE saves time and increases planning efficiency.

Since 2019, we have realised extensive pilot applications which focus on new concepts for the planning of control and safety technologies. We were able to prove and show that RailCOMPLETE is the suitable tool for the representation of control and safety technology in 2D, 3D and tables and which functional range the future desktop capacity simulator will have. You can see our demo video here: The JUNCTION simulator

Proof-of-concept: The JUNCTION on-the-fly desktop capacity simulator

In cooperation with SNCF we have developed a comprehensive embedded scripting system. We demonstrated the scripting by importing object data as Excel files from the national “Gaia ” asset database and having RailCOMPLETE convert them from Excel into track and control and safety objects in 2D and 3D – see Converting SNCF GAÏA asset data from Excel to an editable BIM model.

Since 2018, we have been working with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd in Japan, High-Speed Rail Division. At the end of 2021, we concluded a contract for a pilot project, a tool evaluation phase. The focus of the contract is on control and safety technology and overhead line construction. The pilot project will run until the end of 2022. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd is seeking adoption of RailCOMPLETE for use in a future high-speed rail contract in the USA, Texas High Speed Rail project (TxHSR) which will build a closed Shinkansen system based on proven Japanese technology.

In 2021, we were commissioned by the European project EULYNX to develop a first demonstrator showing that RailCOMPLETE is a project planning tool to implement the upcoming data exchange format “EULYNX ” for control and safety technology and that EULYNX DP is suitable to become a European standard in the planning process. This could replace the national exchange formats such as PlanPro, IMSpoor, Gaia etc. and create interoperability in planning for cross-border projects.  Have a look at the Eulynx project and our demo which shows that the DLL of the EULYNX format has been integrated into RailCOMPLETE and that the German planning attributes could be created for DB Netz – RailCOMPLETE models German signaling using the Eulynx exchange language.

Since 2021 we have been present on the German market and can help to comprehensively automate the planning process, especially against the background of the planned rollout of ETCS and digital interlockings (DSTW).

We have demonstrated that a RailCOMPLETE script can successfully convert a Class B signaling model into an ETCS model with data points. The script was converted from a Java implementation of the German ETCS rule set draft of the University of Dresden for the placement of ETCS data points.

Automatic placement of ETCS data points based on a planned Class B siganling system at Scheibenberg

Since autumn 2020, we have been a member of the standardisation committee for IFC Rail Alignment With Cant of Building Smart International. We were able to ensure that almost all basic concepts and real requirements of rail planning will be mapped in the upcoming IFC Rail 4×3. RailCOMPLETE will include its own IFC export and import from 2023. A property set editor is expected to be available by the end of 2022.

Catenary modeling with RailCOMPLETE (Source: Norconsult AS)

We are gradually growing and expanding our team of developers, to develop more exciting and beneficial functions for rail planning. We are actively looking for partners to support us in our growth. In the meantime, you can try RailCOMPLETE for yourself – download the RC application and the latest official Norwegian DNA version and take advantage of our extended 60-day free trial for new customers.

Meet us at Innotrans 2022 

The RailCOMPLETE booth at Innotrans 2018

Innotrans 2022 is the greatest railway event of the year, from Tuesday 20th to Friday 23rd September in Berlin. Please visit us at our booth #100 in building 6.1

Norconsult AS: “RailCOMPLETE saves time”

RailCOMPLETE provides a high degree of automation and streamlining of processes. In many areas, the program helps to save time, says experienced senior engineer Knut Atle Stene Andersen at Norconsult.  

– With RailCOMPLETE as the central repository for the data, and with the programming of the tables in RailCOMPLETE, the quality has improved compared to the more manual work processes we used to do. But most importantly, the time it takes to produce drawings has gone down significantly, says senior engineer Stene Andersen.  

Tight deadlines and strict rules

Knut Atle Stene Andersen has been working with overhead contact lines and railway since 1993. In 2010 he started with the project management of such installations and has since then participated in several large projects in connection with the electrification and upgrading of the Norwegian railway. These days he is central in the work on the drawings for the electrification of the Trønder and Meråker railway, assignment “ETM”.  

This assignment is carried out as a subcontractor to NRC, which has a turnkey contract for Bane NOR. The section of railway line from Trondheim with the Tyholt tunnel and further east is approximately 120 km with single track and a dozen stations. The contract extends from Marienborg via Stavne-Leangbanen and from Trondheim station to Stjørdal station on the Nordlandsbanen, and from Hell station to Riksgrensen on the Meråkerbanen. There are no contact lines from before, and the railway line is characterized by many and sharp curves.  

– The project must be completed by November 2023. These are tight deadlines and strict regulations. RailCOMPLETE contributes to good implementation, says Stene Andersen.  

Figure 1: Overhead Catenary System plan view, made with RailCOMPLETE

Saves a lot of time and reduces the possibility of errors

Stene Andersen and his colleagues at Norconsult are working on this extensive project. He checks wiring, equipment placement and dimensioning in accordance with Bane NOR’s extensive technical regulations, and that drawings and tables have the correct appearance and content. There are several hundred drawings in the project, both line drawings in scale 1:500 and 1:1000 for contact line installations, and there are earthing plans in scale. All drawings contain tables with hundreds of figures which of course must be correct.  

During the project, and once it is built, thousands of engineered objects must be reported to Bane NOR’s system for monitoring construction projects, and finally key data must be transferred to Bane NOR’s operational database, “Banedata”.  

In this assignment, foundation plans are not stored as drawings, instead, the XYZ object placement coordinates from RailCOMPLETE are transferred to NRC as data files. There are also no 3D models in this mission.  

-There are many processes and many possible sources of error in such a project. RailCOMPLETE contributes to an increased degree of automation and efficiency of the processes. But although it saves us time and reduces the risk of errors, it still requires considerable expertise to drive such a project forward, says Stene Andersen.  

Figure 2: OCS pole table and OCS contact wire table, automatically generated with RailCOMPLETE

Breakthrough – Interlocking tables with RailCOMPLETE

Today we are making Norwegian Railway History – RailCOMPLETE is now capable of modeling tracks, switches, track vacancy detection sections, signal, via points and fictitious end points, and figures out the complex signaling system’s socalled interlocking tables by itself. These are detailed tables which describe the required state for switches and track sections in order to allow a certain train route or shunting route to be set and the corresponding signals be set to ‘clear’.

This far we have developed support for generating train routes, shunting routes, extended train routes and extended shunting routes. The RailCOMPLETE development team now aims at producing all 20 interlocking table types according to the Norwegian Bane NORs design guidelines “Veileder for forriglingstabeller”.

The interlocking tables may be generated from a schematic as well as from a geographic RailCOMPLETE model.

Below you will find a fictitious railway station. The corresponding interlocking tables may be downloaded here.

RailCOMPLETE® at Nordic Rail 2017

3D model preview for railway objects

RailCOMPLETE now has a function that previews the associated 3D model for a given object. The example below shows a controlled balise. When the CAD cursor hovers over the 2D symbol in AutoCAD model space, then an image of the associated 3D model is shown from a specified angle (here: from front/left side).