Tried and tested: ADComms completes successful real-time passenger information system trial with Northern Rail

Date: February 2015

Beagle, ADComms’ revolutionary approach to real-time passenger information distribution, has taken a further step in its testing program, with a successful live trial completed on the Northern Rail network. The product is in the final stages of its testing program, with product availability from March 2015.

Launched at the 2014 RTPI Conference, the Beagle system uses data obtained from National Rail Enquiries’ Darwin system to keep passengers up to date, at all times, on train arrivals (and potential delays) at every point along their journey. This is done using displays and voice announcement systems which are integrated into the train.

Beagle’s trial by rail, carried out on a Northern Rail service across West Yorkshire from Leeds to Todmorden on December 30th, aimed to prove that real-time passenger information could be successfully transmitted to a moving train using mobile wireless techniques. The demonstrator unit was installed on a Northern Rail Class 153 train, marking the first time Beagle was tested on a moving train.

This is the first time real-time data has been received and displayed on board a Northern Rail train, heralding a technological step-change for the operator. The system quickly and accurately showed when the train was delayed by an extended wait at a red signal and fed this information back visually to customers on board.

Partners involved in the trial were delighted with the outcome of the pilot scheme and ADComms is now working with a number of TOCs looking to explore the Beagle system.

Marc Silverwood, Head of Customer Experience at Northern Rail, commented:

“Being part of a trial like this shows how committed we are to improving communications with our customers on board our trains. It’s also an honour to be part of a pilot where the latest in real-time technology is being put to best use. Our customers are always on the move and advancements such as this reassure them that we are at the forefront of sharing train information.”

The Beagle launch comes in the wake of The Office of Rail Regulation – Passenger Experience Report April 2014, which highlights that passenger information provision on trains is one area where satisfaction levels are falling. Current on-train systems, which show information on train destinations but neglect arrival times or delay notifications, are no longer meeting the rising expectations of customers for reliable information about their journeys.

ADComms managing director Jason Pearce said:

“There’s real scope for Beagle to positively transform the passenger experience across the UK’s rail system, so we’re thrilled with the outcome of the latest trial. A particularly impressive result from the pilot was that tunnels, station canopies and overgrown vegetation didn’t cause any measurable impact or disruption to feeding the data into the system.

“The Beagle system offers a comprehensive solution to TOCs wishing to rapidly improve their passenger satisfaction feedback levels and to meet demand for the same level of information on the train as well as on the platform.”

Providing real differentiators for the industry, such as ease of implementation and low cost for such a system, the Beagle on-train PIS solution has the following capability:

  • Keeps passengers on track with arrival times, delay information and scheduled departures at called-at stations
  • Improves passenger experiences using accessible, open data sources
  • Does away with the need for route and timetable configurations – Beagle is always up to date
  • Provides low cost and highly flexible pricing options for its users
  • Is easy to install and manage

Find out more about Beagle

For more information, please contact St John White or Natalia Gameson at Prova on 01926 776900.