Japan tech to help Greater Anglia’s punctuality

Greater Anglia Intercity Train
Credit: Greater Anglia

The technology used to in Japan to make trains run to time is being introduced for the first time in the UK on the Greater Anglia network.

Toshiba Digital and Consulting Corporation (TDX) has been involved in Japanese railway industries for 100 years and Mitsui, which part-owns Greater Anglia, are providing a digital twin software package to help Greater Anglia plan the region’s rail timetable more efficiently.

Japan is known across the world for their punctuality, and this new technology flags up any timing or platform conflicts, enabling Greater Anglia to tweak the timetable to reduce delays.

It has been trialled on Greater Anglia’s West Anglia route, from Cambridge to London Liverpool Street and is now being rolled out across the network.

TDX data engineers flew in from Tokyo and spent five months collecting data for the trial, including the existing timetable, train acceleration and braking performance and information about the position of signals, curves and the gradient of the line and even travelling on trains.

The combined efforts of TDX, Mitsui and Greater Anglia teams mean that adjustments for the coming timetable change in May 2020 have already been suggested for the West Anglia route.

This has included alterations to the platforms that are used at Liverpool Street for some key trains to improve right time departures

What did the officials say?

Keith Palmer, Greater Anglia head of performance and planning, said:

“We are very pleased to be working with TDX and Mitsui to bring Japanese know-how to improve journeys for Greater Anglia passengers.

“Timetable planning is an incredibly complex job and we welcome this new system as it will help us to refine what we are already doing.”

Noriyasu Okitani, President of TDX, said:

“We are really pleased to start this innovative project with Greater Anglia and Mitsui, we will utilize the digital technologies of the Toshiba Group and would like to contribute to further improvements in customer convenience and customer satisfaction .

Yasushi Shimizu, general manager of Transportation Project Div. Mobility Business Unit I Mitsui & Co., Ltd said:

“Mitsui intends to contribute to the development of UK rail market by bringing capable partners through our global network to deliver innovative solutions. We are excited with this opportunity to support Greater Anglia’s train operation service that would lead to enhancing the value of the project by introducing Toshiba’s Digital Twin and Artificial Intelligence based train planning solution and consulting service, together with Toshiba Corporation.”

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  • Perhaps the Japanese could do a brilliant job and to take over the East Anglia franchise and to provide a much better faster reliable services with new trains coming in. As Class 755s have already entered service in East Anglia.