Permanent way design fits within the overall design process and is an integral component dictating not only the spatial layout of the design, but also accommodating the operational parameters of the railway system.

The permanent way includes:

  • Alignment (geometric) design and
  • Track structure design (sub-structure and super structure)

with both being responsible for the support of rail vehicles.

Civil works are limited to those directly affecting the railway line and primarily involve mass earthworks and bridging or large culvert structures. Loading structures are also included within the civil works undertaken.

As such, the permanent way design solution is an integrated balance between spatial constraints, operational requirements, routing, alignment and structural design.

As a division within the design process, the permanent way impacts, and is impacted by, the allied disciplines of train operations, Overhead Track Equipment (OHTE) and signalling to produce a system design that will meet the broader needs of the rail logistics solution.

At R&H, we pride ourselves on using contemporary design tools that are compatible across multiple areas and forums. This allows simple transfer and receipt of information with allied work streams on larger projects, and easily integrates multiple data sources into a central repository that forms the basis for the project. We use the following design tools:

  • AutoCad and Microstation draughting software
  • AutoCad Civil 3D Design Suite
  • Bentley Rail Track
  • AutoCad Map 3D GIS


Dave Hewson

Tel: +27 11 886 6951


R&H Rail (Pty) Ltd is a member of the DAR Group of Companies