A collaborative partnership between Siemens Mobility, TransPennine Express and Eversholt Rail will see the full 51-strong Class 185 fleet receive a digital upgrade - connecting to the cloud to access real time information.
Already one of the UKs most reliable fleets, the latest 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. It will help the operator understand and use relevant rail data, generate valuable information and optimise planning.
The information will also be used to help depot maintenance teams streamline and plan maintenance tasks more effectively, monitoring elements such as door and battery performance and improving overall fault finding. The array of support systems will significantly improve the reliability of the fleet while reducing overall maintenance and whole-life costs. This will provide a platform to build upon in the future, allowing the fleet to be connected to additional train systems and overall future-proofing the 185 fleet.
Commenting, Sambit Banerjee, Managing Director of Rolling Stock and Customer Services for Siemens Mobility in the UK, 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 continued: “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.”
Paul Staples, Fleet Director for TransPennine Express, 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.”
Paul Sutherland, Client Services Director for Eversholt Rail, 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 passenger focus outlined in the recently published Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail is key to outline the future direction of the rail industry. The much-loved Class 185 has performed exceptionally well since it first entered service for TransPennine Express in 2006. Since that time, it’s become a familiar sight on routes across the North and into Scotland and has travelled just over a staggering 143 million miles – that’s just over one and a half times earth’s orbit around the Sun! Siemens Mobility has been working on its digitalisation initiative to make more of their mid-life fleet digitally capable. This initiative with TransPennine Express is a significant step in that direction. The digital fleet upgrade, which is expected to be complete by autumn 2022, will help improve the passenger experience for its 18 million annual passengers.