Creating a Digital Twin of King’s Cross Station for Network Rail

A collaboration between RUAS, Railscape Ltd. and Network Rail to create a Digital Twin of King’s Cross Station in London. 
RUAS the UAV Division of Railscape Ltd., one of the UK’s leading Commercial Drone Service & Training Providers, are a Newport (South Wales, UK) based company. The addition of UAPS to the range of services RUAS can offer reinforces its position as a Commercial Drone Service and Training Industry leader.

Digital Twin of King Cross station


In this case study, we explore the collaboration between RUAS, Railscape Ltd. and Network Rail to create a digital twin of King’s Cross Station in London. RUAS utilised advanced technologies, including a NavVis VLX-2 mobile scanner and a DJI Matrice 300 RTK Drone combined with the DJI Zenmuse P1 camera, to capture high-precision data for the development of a 3D digital replica. The primary objective was to bring the station alive as a comprehensive digital asset within Network Rail’s new asset management system, Citadel.


Network Rail, the owner and operator of the UK’s rail infrastructure, recognised the need for an advanced asset management system that would enhance operational efficiency, maintenance planning, and overall decision-making. The concept of a digital twin, a virtual representation of a physical asset, emerged as a powerful solution. To achieve this, Network Rail engaged Railscape Ltd. & RUAS, a leading provider of unmanned aerial systems and data analytics, to carry out the digital twin project for King’s Cross Station.

equipment used for capturing the DigiTwin


RUAS developed a comprehensive methodology to capture accurate and detailed data of King’s Cross Station. The project primarily involved night-time operations to minimise disruption to daily rail operations. The following technologies were utilised:

  1. NavVis VLX-2 Mobile Scanner; The Navvis mobile scanner, a state-of-the-art LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) system, was employed to capture highly accurate point cloud data of the station’s interiors. It allowed for precise measurements and detailed mapping of the building’s structure.
  2. DJI Matrice 300 RTK Drone with the DJ Zenmuse P1 Camera: The DJI M300 RTK Drone, equipped with a high-resolution DJI P1 camera, was utilised to capture aerial imagery and create a detailed photogrammetric model of the station’s exteriors. The drone’s flight paths were carefully planned to ensure comprehensive coverage of the entire site.
  3. GeoMax Zoom95 Series Robotic Total Station; Control points were used in the project for two reasons, the first was to ensure that the SLAM was being controlled, as some of the environments being scanned meant traversing stairs and narrow hallways, which is not ideal for SLAM. The second reason was, that these control points were also used to put the resulting scans on the OSGB grid and meant that other datasets (such as the resulting model from the UAV capture) would align.

Data Capture and Processing:

RUAS deployed its team of skilled operators to carry out the data capture operations over multiple nights. The NavVis VLX-2

 mobile scanner was meticulously manoeuvred throughout the station’s interiors, capturing data with a 6mm accuracy. Simultaneously, the DJI M300 drone conducted aerial surveys, capturing high-resolution imagery of the exteriors.

Once the data was collected, RUAS employed advanced processing techniques to merge the LiDAR data from the NavVis VLX-2 mobile scanner with the photogrammetric model generated from the drone imagery. This integration facilitated the creation of a holistic 3D digital replica of King’s Cross Station.

Development of the Digital Twin:

RUAS utilised specialised software tools to process the captured data and create an immersive digital twin of King’s Cross Station. The combined LiDAR and photogrammetric data provided a highly accurate representation of the station, including its architecture, structural components, and surrounding environment.

The digital twin incorporated various interactive features and functionalities, enabling Network Rail’s asset management system, Citadel, to leverage the data for improved asset tracking, maintenance planning, and operational decision-making. The digital twin also allowed stakeholders to virtually explore the station, assess potential modifications, and simulate various scenarios for enhanced operational efficiency.

Benefits and Outcomes:

The collaboration between Railscape Ltd, RUAS and Network Rail resulted in several notable benefits and outcomes:

  1. Enhanced Asset Management: The 3D digital twin provided Network Rail with a comprehensive and accurate representation of King’s Cross Station, allowing for improved asset management, maintenance planning, and resource allocation.
  2. Operational Efficiency: Citadel, Network Rail’s asset management system, integrated the digital twin, enabling real-time tracking and monitoring of assets within the station. This enhanced operational efficiency by streamlining maintenance processes, reducing downtime, and optimising resource utilisation.
  3. Decision Support: The detailed digital twin empowered Network Rail’s stakeholders to make informed decisions regarding infrastructure upgrades, capacity planning, and safety enhancements. Virtual simulations and scenario analysis facilitated better risk assessment and mitigation strategies.
  4. Cost Savings: The digital twin’s high accuracy and detailed representation minimised the need for on-site inspections and physical measurements, resulting in cost savings for Network Rail.


The creation of a 3D digital twin of King’s Cross Station by Railscape Ltd. & RUAS in collaboration with Network Rail demonstrates the potential of advanced technologies in revolutionising asset management in the rail industry. The project showcased the successful integration of LiDAR scanning, aerial photogrammetry, and data processing techniques to develop an accurate and immersive digital replica. Network Rail’s adoption of Citadel, incorporating the digital twin, has positioned them at the forefront of asset management innovation, ensuring the efficient and sustainable operation of King’s Cross Station.

Are you looking to create a similar project? Or wish to find out more about what technologies are  available at RUAS? Get in touch today!

Jessica Garrard-Chick

September 11

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