Reshaping the Railways with Innovation and Insights

Reshaping the Railways with Innovation and Insights

Train and Station Innovation for Performance (TSIP) is maximising the benefits of smart technology to bring improvements to passenger experience, employee safety plus operations and maintenance. Through vigorous use case testing TSIP is accelerating the time to deployment for new digital, connected technologies.

Network Rail currently has five core programmes running each of which will provide opportunities to deploy technologies and trial these against operational and business use-cases:

One: Rail Innovation & Development Centre (RIDC)

RIDC will be an open innovation ecosystem where companies and individuals can test and develop technical solutions in a live rail environment. Fixed and wireless communications (including mmWave, 5GHz and 5G radio technology) are being installed to create a rail innovation hub at Old Dalby. Alongside connectivity, Meraki cameras are being installed to enable analytics and surveillance use cases. To interpret data, an analytics dashboard will be delivered to support multiple use cases, trackside and station.

Two: Marsden Community Station

Marsden is a Yorkshire village surrounded by wild and beautiful countryside of the Peak District. The focus here is to support levelling up the digital divide, proving that the rail network can enhance both regional and passenger connectivity. Cisco has already built connectivity into the village using 5G mmWave technology, which forms the basis of the plans to provide secure connectivity to care facilities. Smart cameras and Wi-Fi will develop use cases that will enhance passenger safety and experience at small rural stations.

Three: Dawlish Coastal Resilience of the Railway

The century-old seawall at Dawlish was destroyed by crashing waves in 2014 and track was left suspended in mid-air. To prevent this happening again Dawlish needs continual monitoring to protect the environment, public, passengers and staff.

Cisco and Telent will be installing IoT and Vision analytics at 4 locations: Dawlish Warren, Dawlish Station, Dawlish GSMR, Holcombe GSMR. This will monitor the costal resilience of the railway, condition of the tunnel portals and the instability of the cliffs, along with several other station and trackside use cases. Continual monitoring means any small degradation in condition can be addressed early on, preventing an escalation of the problem.

Four: Managed Stations

Innovative technology has been put in front of users at Leeds Central, Reading, London Euston, Glasgow Central, London Waterloo and Manchester Piccadilly stations to obtain early feedback on operational alerting and insights for station management.  Partnering with other technology providers such as Intel, brings compute power to smart devices and is enabling Network Rail to capture more data, analyse it faster, and act on it sooner.

Smart devices combined with intelligent analytics are being used to improve station and passenger management, looking at use cases such as air quality, crowding and environmental conditions.

Five: The Data Driven Railway

Enhanced data analytics, to alert and share intelligence with the rail network is integral to all use cases. A SiYtE  interface transforms rich data into evidence-based business benefits for routes, stations, operators and executives.

Cameras and IoT sensors create near real time alerts of critical events (e.g. trespass, crowding) which then initiate a workflow, assuring an associated action and providing an audit trail. Along with third party data sources this enriched data can then enable trend insights, foresight planning and benefits realisation.


The outcomes delivered by TSIP  will improve compliance, safety, environmental impact, operational efficiencies and passenger experience. Future decision making will have the support of empirical and auditable data and successes will be integrated into the NRT Service Catalogue. Combining resources and outsourcing innovation to industry partners enables Network Rail  to deliver and deploy on innovation. Using IoT to monitor the railways brings improvements to passenger experience and employee safety, helping Network Rail to achieve their vision of ‘Putting passengers first’, ensuring they deliver the best possible service to their passengers and freight customers.

To find out more contact the TSIP office: [email protected]

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