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Success Story | Network Rail + Jacobs Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU)

Jacobs uses Bentley iTwin platform to deliver route-wide digital twin

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A person inside the rail tunnel clicking picture


network rail & jacobs / Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU)
manchester, united kingdom
3D CAD model of a construction site with structural steelwork detail, viewed on computer software with various tools and measurements displayed for the Jacobs Transpennine Route Upgrade.

A Transformative Railway Infrastructure Program

The Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) is a GBP multibillion railway upgrade program that aims to deliver passenger focused benefits across the Transpennine route, between York and Manchester via Leeds and Huddersfield. Stretching over 100 kilometers, this vital rail artery serves 23 stations, crosses over and dips under 285 bridges and viaducts, passing through six miles of tunnels, and over 29 level crossings. TRU will support economic growth in the North of England, transforming the line into a high-performing, reliable railway for passengers, to deliver greater punctuality, more trains, and improved journey times. Network Rail retained Jacobs as the technical design authority to digitalize data and workflows throughout design, construction, and lifecycle operations and asset management.


  • Jacobs was tasked with delivering a route-wide digital twin to improve data management and collaboration for the GBP multibillion TRU rail program.
  • Bentley’s iTwin platform served as the core platform for developing a connected digital ecosystem.
  • The digital twin improved accessibility for over 1,300 staff by 40%, saving 20,000 hours in the first six months of implementation, worth GBP 1 million.

“iTwin services represents the heart of our connected environment that has enabled us to optimize program delivery through our digital twin approach.”

– Joao Babiero, Digital Engineering Lead for Transpennine Route Upgrade, Jacobs Engineering

Big Data and a Scattered Team Demand a Connected Digital Solution

With TRU assets spread among multiple systems used by 1,300 staff from multiple organizations in different geographic locations, the project posed significant risks developing a consistent approach to design and development. Jacobs faced challenges managing and sharing more than 6,000 models, over 600 datasets, point clouds, and reality data. They needed to share them in an accessible manner across the geographically dispersed team, and a multitude of stakeholders and decision makers. They realized that paper-based processes and Excel spreadsheets were inefficient, resulting in potential safety hazards and disruption to passenger service. To support the most efficient and safest design, construction, handover, and operations, they sought to establish a digital twin and needed a user-friendly, connected digital solution that could bring together the voluminous data and distributed, multidiscipline team.

Having already established a connected data environment since the project’s inception, TRU selected the Bentley iTwin platform to integrate with ProjectWise, ContextCapture, multiple authoring applications, and internal databases, federating large volumes of data and making it accessible to the entire team. The integrated solution facilitated the creation of a route-wide digital twin, pushing the boundaries of a digital environment to establish a connected digital ecosystem for data-driven decision-making. With the web-based iTwin platform at its core, the TRU digital ecosystem enables a virtual, visual representation of the assets, accessible and maintainable in real time throughout the project lifecycle.

Digital Twin Drives Savings and Sustainability

Using the Bentley iTwin platform improved information accessibility by 40%, saving more than 20,000 hours and an estimated GBP 1 million in the first six months of implementation. Creating a connected digital ecosystem and digital twin contextualized data in a visual platform, providing new levels of insight and trust in the data. The team could produce more holistic analytical solutions to support better engineering decisions, as well as deliver a safer, more reliable, and sustainable railway infrastructure.

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