HS2

29.06.16

Darwin expanded to replace TOC and NR customer information systems

The rail industry’s central train running information engine, Darwin, has now replaced 66 separate customer information systems (CIS), operated by train operators and Network Rail, with one single system delivering consistency to the information provided to customers.

The Darwin CIS Project represents an investment of £9m, funded by the National Stations Improvement Programme, and is part of the industry’s strategy to improve customer information.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said the new system will ensure customers see the same live information however they choose to look for it: online, via an app, from station staff or on station screens.

All of Britain’s rail stations that have CIS information screens installed, approximately 1,600 or two-thirds of the national total, will be covered by the harmonised system.

All TOCs and Network Rail have been involved with the project, replacing their own systems with the new national information feed. The RDG noted that While CrossCountry, Grand Central and Hull Trains do not operate any of their own stations, the new system means that better management of train information at stations is possible for all train operators.

Jacqueline Starr, managing director for customer experience at the RDG, said: “Our customers tell us that they want better information, especially when services are disrupted, and this project is an important step towards addressing that need.

“Many rail passengers will be familiar with the panic that sets in when they are waiting for a train and the screen on the station platform tells them one thing but the app on their phone says another. The improvements we're making today should bring an end to those moments.

“Being able to trust the origin of information on the railway is crucial for customers so that they can make the best decisions about their journeys. We know that we haven’t always got it right in the past, but we hope this change will make life that bit easier for our passengers.” 

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

Huguenot   29/06/2016 at 19:45

Perhaps the system will now dispense with the default 'On Time' display when it hasn't a clue whether a train that has not yet started out from its originating station will indeed be on time. 'On time' can show even if the stock hasn't even arrived at the originating station. In these circumstances, displays should merely show blank until definite positive train running information is avaiable.

John Grant   01/07/2016 at 12:22

What about all those times when the display at King's Cross doesn't show a platform but RealTimeTrains or OpenTrainTimes does? Does "consistent" mean the displays showing the platform earlier (maybe before it's ready for people to board), or the apps not showing it until it's too late for less-mobile passengers to get from the concourse to the platform?

John Grant   01/07/2016 at 12:29

Oh, and will the new system understand about delayed trains holding up others? Fast trains shown as overtaking a late stopping train, for instance, when there's no possibility of doing so, or trains shown as entering a single track section when there's a late train coming the other way still occupying it?

Jerry Alderson   01/07/2016 at 15:22

Inconsistent real-time train departure/arrival details is just one of the issues caused by each TOC having thier own back offie systems supported by a plethora of suppliers. Railfuture has complained to the rail industry about TVMs not showing new stations - some TOCs do and some don't and there seems to be no obvious pattern to it. Worse still, ScotRail shows Lea Bridge on some of its TVMs and not on others - even adjacant TVMs at the same station! Obviously these problems do not occur in countries with a single operator.

Martin Thorne   03/07/2016 at 18:24

I presume the upgrade to Darwin now includes displaying charter train information (noted on the Customer Information Systems at Ely plus the recently installed LCD screens at March last Saturday week, which replaced the now-obsolete CRT CIS screens that were funded by Cambridgeshire County Council some years ago? Whilst charter train customers are probably not as important as those that travel by train regularly for work or leisure purposes, they have often been treated as second-class customers at stations by the previous lack of station information about said trains, even though they are often paying the same or more than regular fare-paying customers-sometimes considerably more if they have paid for a Dining option or are travelling on a steam-hauled charter train.

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Ep.12 Diversity, inclusion & gender balance, Adeline Ginn MBE

05/06/2020Ep.12 Diversity, inclusion & gender balance, Adeline Ginn MBE

Adeline Ginn MBE, Founder & Chair of Women in Rail, joined host Ailsa Cowen for episode 12 of Rail Technology Magazine’s podcast, Track T... more >
Electric railway now running through historic Severn Tunnel

05/06/2020Electric railway now running through historic Severn Tunnel

On Friday (June 5th) Network Rail announced they have successfully completed the electrification of the Severn Tunnel, bringing London and south ... more >
Multi-million-pound investment for Cumbria Coast Line coastal viaduct

05/06/2020Multi-million-pound investment for Cumbria Coast Line coastal viaduct

A major investment to improve a crucial costal viaduct will start next month to make journeys faster and more reliable for Cumbrian Coast line pa... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

14/11/2019Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

Rail Technology Magazine’s Matt Roberts explains the significant role data can play within the future development of the rail industry. Standing as a cornerstone of the UK transport network, the rail industry is forever striving to innovate and maximise efficiency in all aspects of its work. Data is just one such way of achievi... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >