Saturday, 23 March 2013

Transforming Passenger Information 2013 - Darwin - National Rail Enquiries / Virgin Trains / Chiltern Railways

Disclosure - I attended the Transforming Passenger Information Customer Experience Summit 2013 as a guest of London Business Conferences Live Tweets from the Conference were posted at #TPI13

Darwin - a central source that feeds consistent information through different mediums

David Johnson, Programme Manager +National Rail Enquiries , kicked off the session on Darwin with an overview of this 3 year programme to rationalise information systems and improve the consistency, quality and timeliness of customer information at rail stations.

By 2015 it is expected that Darwin will interface to the Customer Information Systems at 2000 stations - systems provided by Atos,

The core functionality of Darwin is a National Data Store with a single Prediction Engine which takes information from Train Operating Company Control Staff through the Tyrell messaging system and through dedicated Darwin workstations to push information out to station CISs and to third party outlets.

The key advantage of Darwin is it replaces the current interconnected (or not) prediction engines driving individual TOC CISs

Francis Jellings, Head of Information Technology Virgin Trains, picked up on the lessons learnt as Virgin Trains acted as a pilot for Darwin in mid-2011. Virgin was chosen as it manages just 17 stations...

Birmingham International went live on 31 May 2011 and the final station, Crewe, went live 7 July 2011.

Implementing Darwin has helped Virgin increase the National Passenger Survey Information about Train Times/Platforms score on its London-Manchester route to almost 93% satisfaction.

The key challenge of implementing Darwin was the tight timetable for training 76 station announcers in the new 'automated' system. The ongoing technical challenges remain the data feed from 40 year old TRUST, and the lack of an automatic failover system (one is promised).

The hope for the future is that Darwin will feed a Real-Time On-Board Passenger Information System.

Matt Bromley, Station Manager at Marylebone, described the 'quick win' which Darwin has given +Chiltern Railways in upgrading its Passenger Information Systems.

Marylebone went live in September 2012 and by the end of the month all other Chiltern managed stations had followed.

Key benefits noted by Matt are:
  • Single source of live train running information 
  • 87 delay reasons available rather than 5 (announced and displayed as remarks) 
  • Live arrivals at Marylebone (previously done manually)
  • National live information (previously Chiltern's Cross-Country train infomation boundary was at Oxford...)
Issue still to be tackled:
  • Interfacing with legacy systems ("some systems were installed before my parents were born" - Matt is 26)
  • NO live tracking of trains Harrow on the Hill to Amersham
  • Platforms at Marylebone still entered manually
Ketech has issued a press release on its work with Chiltern in implementing Darwin

FINALLY - not part of the Conference but relevant -see Tom Cairn's blog post

ORR Real Time Train Information Consultation

No comments:

Post a Comment