Swissrail Industry Association / Tue 15.11.2022

Rejuvenating an old fleet to deliver a 21st century service

From a passenger's point of view, rail is by far the most sustainable way to get from point A to point B, especially if the train is powered by electricity from renewable sources. From a rail operator's point of view, it is much more economically and ecologically sustainable to refurbish the train fleet than to buy new rolling stock. Supporting the operator of an intrinsically sustainable transport system in overhauling its fleet is a rewarding task for a supplier of connectivity solutions like HUBER+SHUNER.

 Northern Trains, a publicly owned train operating company in England, had the goal of updating an aging legacy fleet due to the introduction of a National Technical Specification Notice (NTSN) related to rail system accessibility to persons with disability or persons with reduced mobility (PRM). It also had compliance objectives of the franchise commitment (e.g., improving train security and train service information and a potential change to driver-only operation). Through a strong relationship with HUBER+SUHNER, Northern Trains requested  support at a very early stage in order to master a complex project requiring technical expertise and strong project management skills.

Meeting ever-demanding passenger and stakeholders needs
The Digital Train Project is the largest single project relating to legacy fleet upgrades within the United Kingdom, with eight major suppliers and numerous stakeholders involved including the United Kingdom Department for Transport and various rolling stock companies. Thanks to the rolling stock solution portfolio from HUBER+SUHNER, it was possible to develop the best on-train design connectivity requirements for Wi-Fi, closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras and automatic passenger counting (APC) and passenger information systems through assemblies, inter-vehicle jumper systems, communication backbones, and in-carriage and rooftop antennas. HUBER+SUHNER also supplied design support throughout the project, resulting in the implementation of perfect connectivity solutions.

Safety-critical impact on connectivity
The dependency on reliable connectivity for safety-critical and security-focused technology cannot be underestimated. From the liv  feed CCTV for real-time incident footage to passenger information that delivers real-time and up-to-date on-train service information, the equipment is only as good as its connection and feed. APC allows for a better understanding of occupancy which in turn allows advance notification of customers about the carriage with available seating. Forward-facing, internal and external cameras give the operator a real-time overview of what is happening inside and outside the train to make passengers feel safe.

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