Next Generation Comprehensive Signal Design Via Intelligent 3d Models and 2d Schematics

Author(s) M. Sampa, R. Henderson
AREMA (American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-way Association) Annual Conference - Oct 1, 2013


Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in its drive to increase overall business performance, partnered with Hatch Mott MacDonald to improve the efficiency of CPR owned and operated equipment facilities with a specific focus on the delivery of prewired wayside signal control housings. CPR sought to improve delivery schedules, consistency, quality, and to reduce overall project costs for wayside signal control installations by drawing on Building Information Modeling (BIM) techniques to increase design fidelity with relation to final products. CPR endeavored to achieve the following: 

  • Automation of Bill of Material (BOM) generation;
  • Automation of wiring schedule generation including wire lengths, tags, and termination types;
  • Enhancement of layout sections including integration with CPR Enterprise
Resource Planning (ERP) systems and related identification;
  • Streamlining of template modification for site-specific design;
  • Reduction in designer-based error, and;
  • Provision of superior three-dimensional visualization to eliminate equipment installation conflicts.

In striving for an industry-changing level of intelligent design detail, the principles of BIM were adopted and integrated with traditional signal design practices and combined with industrial plant design workflows to deliver a solution that is unique to North American signaling. The process has resulted in noticeable accuracy gains in BOM deliverables and provided previously unavailable wiring schedule details with a high degree of automation. Additionally, intelligent improvements have been applied to layout sections supporting future links to ERP systems. The resultant level of design detail is expected to improve the efficiency of production wiring operations.