A collaboration between Siemens Mobility, TransPennine Express and Eversholt Rail is going to see 51 Class 185 fleet trains getting connected to the cloud to access real-time information.
The agreement will give the Class 185 trains, and its operator TransPennine Express, access to a catalogue of cloud-based reporting tools and applications, using Siemens Mobility’s Railigent system. The hope is this will give the operator better access to data and optimise planning.
The system is designed to help depot teams to streamline and plan maintenance tasks, with oversight of factors such as door and battery performance. It will also improve fault finding. The aim is to improve reliability whilst cutting maintenance and whole-life costs.
It will allow the fleet to connect to other train systems, thus future-proofing it.
Managing director of rolling stock and customer services for Siemens Mobility in the UK, Sambit Banerjee, said: “The Class 185 is one of the UK’s most reliable and popular trains. But having the ability to further increase the fleet’s reliability – and passenger journeys – is something we are extremely excited about.”
He added: “In a world of smartphones and constant connectivity, we are used to accessing information immediately. So, this is a great opportunity to bring the same capability to the railway.
“Importantly, we are proud to be working with our partners TransPennine Express and Eversholt Rail towards the important industry-wide goal of increased reliability and high-quality passenger experience.”
Fleet director for TransPennine Express, Paul Staples, said: “The TransPennine Express Class 185 fleet is one of the United Kingdom’s most reliable fleets in its class and I am proud that it sits at the very heart of the service we offer to our customers.
“This critical digital upgrade to these already excellent trains will help TPE and Siemens to ensure that further improvements to reliability and cost efficiency are identified and delivered quickly, which is so important to rail travel in the North of England as it plays its part in regional growth and prosperity.”
Client services director for Eversholt Rail, Paul Sutherland, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with TransPennine Express and Siemens Mobility on this digital upgrade project. In recent years we have all witnessed our personal devices becoming increasingly connected to the cloud – and this is the railway equivalent.
“This £2.7m investment in cloud-based technology will provide real time data to the operator and maintenance staff, so they can foresee emerging issues early and deal with them as they arise; improving responsiveness and reliability whilst reducing maintenance costs.
“This is part of our continued support into a key fleet for both TransPennine Express and their customers.”
The Class 185 first entered service for TransPennine Express in 2006. Since that time, it’s travelled just over 143 million miles.
The digital fleet upgrade is expected to be complete by autumn 2022.