[train passing] ♪ background music ♪ (Narrator)
Computers assist in virtually every single area of Network Rail’s operations and the operations of our suppliers. It’s hard to imagine how things ran before we had them. They’re vital to our work. Anyone entering the Network Rail workplace can expect to use a computer or computer system to assist in making work more efficient, quicker and safer. Here are some of the ways that we use computers at work. ♪ acoustic guitar background music ♪ (Neil)
Anybody that’s heard of “leaves on the line” will know that trees and their leaves can have a major impact on Network Rail’s safe operations and it’s part of my role to make sure that every single one of our trees is surveyed. My name’s Dr. Neil Strong, I’m a Senior Technology Engineer working for Network Rail. Network Rail is one of the biggest land owners in the country and we have lots of trees on that land, some 2.5 million of them. We love trees but some can pose a risk. They can be diseased and drop branches, they can fall into the power-lines or onto the track itself. In autumn falling leaves on the track create an insulating barrier. Signalling failures arise because the system relies on the contact between the wheels and the rails. Certain trees are the biggest culprits. So, we’ve been tasked with finding out which of those trees are a problem now and which will be a problem in future. To do that, we’ve surveyed every tree on our land. It’s the biggest tree survey ever. It’s taken us 2 years and we’ve been to every corner of the country. Data is collected onto Toughbooks with notes, measurements and photographs and these are really good for outdoor work. We’ve given each tree a tag and a Sat Nav reference. The data is accessible across Network Rail. It means we can know what maintenance is required and plan our work in order of importance. Without computers this survey would be carried out on paper which is more expensive, it’s less accurate and it’s slower to access. The photographic survey would be hugely expensive with developing and printing costs. We will continue to update the survey, the trees will keep growing, and we will continue to inspect them. ♪ synth background music ♪ (Narrator)
The population of Britain is growing and the train networks are carrying more and more passengers. And more passengers mean we need better, more efficient stations. (Elizabeth Evans)
My name’s Elizabeth Evans and I’m the Senior Station Capacity Specialist at Network Rail. Station capacity can be described as the ability of a station to safely and comfortably accommodate the numbers of people that are expected to use the station. Network Rail is responsible for handling hundreds of thousands of passengers every day at its managed stations. Stations are constantly being upgraded and pedestrian planning and design is of great importance. Pedestrian planning affects safety and operational performance and also Network Rail’s reputation. My job is to make sure that these stations work for our passengers. To see how passengers move through a station we use dynamic modelling software. This software looks at the physical aspects of the station in combination with how passengers flow through the station. We input CAD drawings of the station into the software. We then add passenger data, timetable information and operational data and see how passengers flow through the station. Each of the dots in the model represents a person and the colours can have a different meaning, but in most cases, it’s their destinations. So where they go to. A small dot is a person without luggage and the bigger the dot the more luggage or the more encumbered they are. We can identify where we have congestion hotspots in the station and we can therefore decide whether we need to build a bigger staircase or add more gates into the design. I can work with architects and designers to make improvements. I get to see new station proposals and actually can influence what it looks like when it’s being built. To actually be able to say that you’ve helped design it, it’s a great feeling.