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Fugro Smart Tamp is a ‘design first’ approach to tamping. Within track sections monitored by Smart Tamp, we maintain an up-to-date model of the current geodetic track position and how the track position relates to the surrounding assets.

For sections in need of maintenance, the geodetic model provides the basis for the new track design, negating the need to send surveyors to track and allowing the track alignment to be optimised. The approved track adjustments are loaded into the tamper to improve the quality and efficiency of the track maintenance process.

A world-first design tamping method

Smart Tamp uses accurate geodetic positions of the track and surrounding assets. Within sections being monitored with Smart Tamp, the current position of the track is regularly updated and the relative distance to surrounding assets such as height to the contract wire is recalculated. Once a new track alignment design has been approved, the Smart Tamp software converts the design file into the required lifts and slews to move the track from its current position to the designed position. This information is uploaded to the computers of the on-track maintenance equipment.

Safety first

Unlike other design tamping methodologies, Smart Tamp does not require any surveyors on the track and does not require any ground control points potentially saving hundreds of thousands of track worker exposure hours.

Proven results

Smart Tamp improves track alignment and removes longer wavelength defects which are often created over time by conventional maintenance tamping. The approach facilitates design tamping so the alignment can be optimised through the whole corridor, rather than just the section in need of tamping. Positional information can be passed to the tamper at increments ≥1 m, allowing the track to be positioned exactly where the design requires with no interpolation needed by the tamper. This ensures best alignment is applied and smoother transitions and curves are created.

Higher tamper outputs

A conventional maintenance tamp takes on average 4-hours to complete of which one hour is needed to collect and compute/approve data on the current track alignment. This an hour where the track is unavailable for other activity and track workers are exposed to danger. With Smart Tamp all the corrections are designed and approved in the safety of the office environment and you can then feed the tamping file directly into your tamper’s guidance computer. The result: over multiple sites, the tamper can complete 25 % more actual tamping than it would have achieved using maintenance tamping.

Additional outputs

Smart Tamp’s highly accurate 3D model of the infrastructure creates the basis for a more sustainable whole-life asset assessment approach. It can be used to produce the tamping adjustment in relation to the design but also to perform detailed checks on the overhead lines and clash detection to check structure gauge clearance. Often overlooked in the tamping process, the ballast surface profile is used to accurately determine if there is sufficient ballast on the site to achieve both the designed track lift and still conform to specification after the tamp. Where deficiencies are found, exact location, volumes and tonnages are reported to streamline the operation. This eliminates the wasted time and cost of tamping sites where there is insufficient ballast to bring the track up to the required level.

Plug-and-play geodetic track data

Smart Tamp utilises Fugro's RILA technology to survey the network at line speed and generate highly accurate geodetic track data. The system doesn’t require personnel on track, nor a dedicated measurement train. It significantly improves network uptime, increases safety by reducing the requirement for boots on ballast, and offers significant cost and carbon savings.


  • Predictive, coordinate based track maintenance reduces annual maintenance costs by up to 30 %
  • No boots on ballast, reducing exposure hours for track workers
  • 2 % to 3 % higher network availability due to improved tamper output and longer maintenance return times
  • Better aligned track, reducing the need for traction power by an estimated 5 %, making a significant contribution to carbon net zero targets
  • No requirement to install or maintain a ground-based control network
  • More sustainable whole-life geometry and increased track quality, which ultimately minimises maintenance costs, reduces carbon emissions, improves safety and creates a smoother ride for passengers and freight
  • Quantitative assessment of previous tamping works to determine if treatment has been performed successfully



Smart Tamp is the result of the InnoTamp innovation project undertaken by Fugro in cooperation with Network Rail to develop and prove design tamping in a real-world environment. We previously hosted a webinar about this project.

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