Reading station

Reading Stations ‘digital twin’ to boost green credentials

Reading station is set to welcome the installation of new sensors that will capture live, real-time data on the station’s energy usage. This comes as a bid to help cut the stations carbon emissions, whilst improving the overall energy performance.

The new, innovative approach to understanding and improving the performance of the station comes from a specialist computer modelling platform. A ‘digital twin’ of the station has been developed, including a simulation of its current energy usage. This digital representation of the station, accompanied by existing, historical data and modelling has identified opportunities that could result in a 20% improvement on the station’s carbon emissions and energy performance.

Atkins – a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group – and Cardiff University have teamed up with Network Rail to develop the ‘digital twin’ model of Reading station. This has been achieved using Cardiff University’s Computational Urban Sustainability Platform (CUSP).

The data collated, accompanied by the computer modelling, creates baselines for the station’s energy consumption and carbon emissions. These will then be utilised with the CUSP to map out ways of improving the stations performance through energy efficient measures. Further changes will be explored, looking at the potential impact of additional energy savings.

Several ways to reduce energy expenditure and carbon emissions with minimal costs have been identified, including improved lighting controls such as dimming when an area of the station is not in use. Turning off machinery such as escalators when not in use or overnight when train services are not in operation will also be explored.

In addition to the data being collected by the sensors at the station, passenger numbers and research to understand passenger and station-user behaviour will also be recorded to understand how identified energy savings might impact their safety and experiences when in the station.

It is hoped, following the energy and carbon savings being realised at Reading station, this technology can be utilised across the rail network to support Network Rail in its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.

Adam De Benedictis, Network Rail’s Regional Energy & Carbon Manager, said:

 “We’re delighted to be working with Atkins on this innovative project which will help us gain a better understanding of complex assets - such as Reading station - and their predicted performance, allowing us to confidently identify and deliver energy efficiency measures and ultimately manage our assets effectively.

“As an organisation, we are committed to reducing our carbon emissions and playing our part in helping combat global warming while ensuring passengers’ experiences in our stations and on our railways are safe, reliable and comfortable.”

Nick Tune, Technical & Technology Director at Atkins, said:

“This is an important milestone as we look to harness data and technology to improve delivery at every stage of an asset’s life.

“Digital twins are the centrepiece of this shift which is giving us the information needed to not only identify opportunities to improve an asset’s energy performance but to interrogate future scenarios, explore further recommendations and tell us how those interventions will work with an unprecedented degree of certainty.”

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