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ECI-2 reveals key areas to embrace change to deliver Digital Railway

The Digital Railway has taken another step forward this week as bosses responsible for delivering the transformative project have unveiled how they could incorporate next-generation technology into rail from new suppliers and the non-railway sector.

Companies from new suppliers and non-railway sectors, including Fujitsu, BT, Cisco, BAE Systems and others, have worked with the Digital Railway team conducting an industry-wide review of best practice, culminating with a report on how organisations like these can better access, work in and supply the rail industry

The report, ‘Delivering Digital Train Control Technology Efficiently’,  is the second stage of the Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) programme.

The first stage, completed in December 2016, looked into how the railway worked with traditional railway equipment suppliers. The second stage has looked at how involvement could be expanded to include a wide variety of sectors in order to enhance the benefits of digital technology.

The findings of the report were released in London yesterday, and highlight nine workstreams to be addressed to deliver the next stage of the digital railway – all of which open up a number of exciting opportunities for suppliers and contractors from different sectors not usually associated with the railway.

Building one common set of data to enable multiple business uses, as well as equipping the workforce with the right skills and expertise to work with new technology were both mentioned. On top of that, the document highlighted the importance of a reliable, effective telecommunications system, as well as driving stronger commercial relationships through new approaches to ensure data and good practice is shared effectively across sectors.

88 Digital Railway

Speaking at the event, David Waboso, managing director of the Digital Railway Programme, said that the programme was at the heart of the Digital Railway and future transformation of the railway network.  

“It underpins and underlines everything we do, while closely aligning with the goals of the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS),” he said. “To bring new skills and jobs to our economy and exports, we want to build on the success of ECI 1 and the new Traffic Management trial on Western.

With nine workstreams spanning a range of diverse subjects, we aim to bring best-practice thinking from leaders in key industry sectors – including automotive, aerospace, defence, petro-chemical and electronics.

“With technology and data developing rapidly across all transport modes, and our industry platforms changing so quickly, we are moving from an industry that is focused on infrastructure and trains, to one that is dominated by a set of integrated systems, all of which are supported and linked by data and connectivity.”

ECI-2 has focused on tackling the following nine workstreams:

  1. Reducing the need for possessions during project implementation and maintenance
  2. Simplifying the product acceptance process
  3. Attract investment to unlock the potential of the telecoms assets and infrastructure with a view to generate future income
  4. Simplifying on-train digital systems and networks
  5. Predict and prevent innovation to reduce disruption to rail services through improved maintenance activity using intelligent infrastructure monitoring
  6. Delivering Industrial Strategy objectives through collaborative and effective innovation management
  7. Delivering a timetable that works, in real time
  8. Modernising the rail network mobile communications network
  9. Using digital data to improve the customer experience

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), added: It is no exaggeration to say that this is an important step towards not just the delivery of the Digital Railway Programme but also to the possibility of the UK creating an exportable world first in the form of a digital signalling roll-out on an existing high intensity and mixed-traffic railway.”

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Neil Palmer   21/07/2017 at 16:30

5. Predict and PREVENT innovation ?

D.W.Roberts   28/07/2017 at 12:49

As anyone following such news items on the internet will have seen the four organisations cited in the article each has a depressingly long list of time and cost overruns on major projects. Combine that with NR's recent performance and ...

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