/ News / Going Digital: Bentley Systems’ New OpenRail is First to Advance BIM for the Full Rail and Transit Lifecycle – Systems Engineering from Planning Through Performance

Going Digital: Bentley Systems’ New OpenRail is First to Advance BIM for the Full Rail and Transit Lifecycle – Systems Engineering from Planning Through Performance

Parul Dubey on October 10, 2017 - in News, Products, Technology

SINGAPORE — The Year in Infrastructure Conference — 10 October 2017 — Today, Bentley Systems’ CEO Greg Bentley introduced the OpenRail solution, comprising applications and services for the comprehensive planning, engineering, project delivery, and operations of rail and transit infrastructure. OpenRail’s foundation is Bentley’s connected data environment (CDE), shared by ProjectWise collaboration services and AssetWise operations services, and which for OpenRail now brings together digital components and digital context, through digital workflows. OpenRail applications will include OpenRail ConceptStation, now available for conceptual railway planning and design; OpenRail Designer, available early in 2018, for detailed engineering and 3D design of track, overhead line, tunnels, bridges, and related civil infrastructure, and AECOsim Station Designer, for the comprehensive modeling of rail and transit stations.


Mr. Bentley said, “Bentley Systems has a proven record in providing industry-leading solutions to improve project delivery and asset performance for the most challenging rail and transit projects around the world. Most of our applications portfolio is used on rail projects, and we’ve advanced BIM for rail, in particular, with our Rail Track offering, rail corridor maintenance optimization through Optram, and via ComplyPro for railway requirements progressive assurance. However, the conception of these specific tools for specific purposes preceded the aspiration for what we now call digital workflows, where engineering deliverables are meant to be reused throughout the asset lifecycle.


“Moreover, our railway engineer users have been persuasive in making the case that a railway—more so than any other infrastructure asset—is a system of connected components, meriting a systems engineering approach from the outset. So, rail has become our company priority for putting everything together—industrializing BIM for project delivery and leveraging digital DNA for asset performance. At this point, while there are still scheduled stops ahead on our OpenRail application journey, every rail project and asset can benefit now from OpenRail’s CDE and digital workflow services—starting their digital railway infrastructure advancement at any OpenRail ‘station’ and at any time.”


Connected Data Environment

OpenRail is based on a connected data environment, comprising the shared services of ProjectWise and AssetWise, as configured specifically for rail systems engineering workflows. During project delivery, ProjectWise facilitates the collaboration among distributed engineering teams, coordination of structured workflows, and connected project visibility. For OpenRail, AssetWise provides asset lifecycle information services for linear, network and geospatial referencing, corridor maintenance decision support, inspection workflows, and reliability and change management.


OpenRail CDE services include Components Center for digital components, ContextShare for digital context, ComplyPro for progressive assurance, and ConstructSim Completions for accessing operational readiness. ComplyPro is the established market leader in rail globally for governance of collaborative assurance systems of technical and safety requirements from concept to project handover. OpenRail extends this scope to progressive operations assurance and regulatory compliance. ConstructSim Completions automates the inspections process to accelerate systems progress and validate system readiness for efficient project turnover and closeout.


Digital Components

Components Center is an Azure cloud service of libraries which align, across disciplines and applications, the semantic content of catalogued components, potentially including vendor data, fabrication details, component requirements (for example, electrical specifications and connections), reliability characteristics, and representational views required for documentation (for example, 3D, plan, schematic). A digital component is reused across BIM workflows in design modeling, analytical modeling, construction modeling, and asset registries—from catalogued component, to engineered component, to installed component, to operated component.


The OpenRail Components Center is being initialized with libraries of generic rail components with appropriate intelligence, and libraries from significant providers such as Siemens, but is intended to be maintained and extended by user organizations.


Digital Context

Reality modeling incorporates digital context in the rail infrastructure workflow. Bentley’s ContextCapture processes digital photography and/or laser scans, from UAVs or hand-held or train-mounted devices, to produce an engineering-ready “reality mesh” accurately representing the continuously surveyed conditions of a railway corridor, site, or station.

Throughout detailed design, the reality mesh, for example, can be used to consider sight lines for signal siting. Because the reality mesh can be captured continuously, construction progress can be tracked and compared to the expected progress of the detailed design. In operations, the reality mesh can be used to compare the as-operated 3D model with the as-designed model, and serve as an immersive 3D environment with hyperlinks to equipment sensors for operations visibility and emergency response training.


OpenRail ConceptStation

OpenRail ConceptStation, enabled by the combination of OpenRail’s digital components and digital context, uniquely extends BIM capabilities to rail conceptual planning and layout. Working in the 3D design environment of the geo-coordinated reality mesh as the digital context of the rail corridor, the user can access Components Center to drag and drop digital components into the design to quickly lay out rail lines, bridges, overhead lines, signals, tunnels, etc. With the context of the terrain, and the intelligence of the digital components, OpenRail ConceptStation can quickly calculate quantities of railway elements such as track, ballast, sleepers, contact and catenary wire, equipment, bridge decking, concrete, and steel, as well as the cut-and-fill earthwork required for the conceptual design, and interactively produce a preliminary cost estimate to evaluate feasibility. All the design information, components, and context in the conceptual design can be reused in a digital workflow to OpenRail Designer for detailed design of the railway infrastructure.


Digital Workflows

In digital workflows, data captured or created for one purpose is accessed by computer programs for other purposes, saving time, minimizing rework, and improving data quality over the asset lifecycle. Digital workflows can also converge the work of different disciplines for additional advancements in project delivery and asset performance. Examples enabled by digital workflows include conceptioneering, constructioneering, inspectioneering, and operationeering. Each of these workflows represent new opportunities for engineers and their work to add value beyond their traditional role in design, to include contributions to construction, inspections, and operations.

The advancement of digital workflows in OpenRail will help users to achieve faster delivery, system-wide visibility, assured compliance, and better decisions in design, construction, and operations of rail infrastructure.

Learn more about OpenRail here


OpenRail ConceptStation CONNECT Edition allows rapid exploration of multi-discipline design and engineering alternatives


OpenRail ConceptStation CONNECT Edition leverages inbuilt design and clearance checks on existing and proposed infrastructure

OpenRail ConceptStation CONNECT Edition creates innovative and inspiring designs including switches, crossings and related infrastructure

OpenRail ConceptStation CONNECT Edition allows understanding of financial implications as early as possible in the process

OpenRail Designer CONNECT Edition cant editor affords engineers and designers with the required control and flexibility.


OpenRail Designer CONNECT Edition provides immersive rail and transit corridor modeling


OpenRail Designer CONNECT Edition allows rapid development of multi-discipline designs in context using 3D reality meshes


About Bentley Systems

Bentley Systems is a global leader in providing engineers, architects, geospatial professionals, constructors, and owner-operators with comprehensive software solutions for advancing the design, construction, and operations of infrastructure. Bentley users leverage information mobility across disciplines and throughout the infrastructure lifecycle to deliver better-performing projects and assets. Bentley solutions encompass MicroStation applications for information modeling, ProjectWise collaboration services to deliver integrated projects, and AssetWise operations services to achieve intelligent infrastructure – complemented by comprehensive managed services offered through customized Success Plans. 

Founded in 1984, Bentley has more than 3,000 colleagues in over 50 countries, more than $600 million in annual revenues, and since 2011 has invested more than $1 billion in research, development, and acquisitions.

Additional information about Bentley is available at www.bentley.com. For Bentley news as it happens, subscribe to an RSS feed of Bentley press releases and news alerts. Visit The Year in Infrastructure Conference website for information on Bentley’s premier thought-leadership event. To view a searchable collection of innovative infrastructure projects from the annual Be Inspired Awards, access Bentley’s Infrastructure Yearbooks. To access a professional networking site that enables members of the infrastructure community to connect, communicate, and learn from each other, visit Bentley Communities.


To download the Bentley Infrastructure 500 Top Owners ranking, a unique global compendium of the top public- and private-sector owners of infrastructure based on the value of their cumulative infrastructure investments, visit BI 500.

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Bentley, the “B” Bentley logo, AECOsim Station Designer, AssetWise, ComplyPro, ConstructSim Systems Completions, ContextCapture, MicroStation, OpenRail, OpenRail ConceptStation, OpenRail Designer, and ProjectWise are either registered or unregistered trademarks or service marks of Bentley Systems, Incorporated or one of its direct or indirect wholly owned subsidiaries. All other brands and product names are trademarks of their respective owners.

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