Darwin passenger information system

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absolutelymilk

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Britain unifies passenger information systems

A £9m project to replace 66 separate passenger information systems with one national system called Darwin was launched across the British railway network on June 28.

Darwin feeds live train information to station screens and online channels, including the National Rail app, providing real-time arrival and departure predictions, platform numbers, delay estimates, schedule changes and cancellations. Darwin takes feeds directly from every train operator's customer information system, combining it with train location data provided by the infrastructure manager, Network Rail (NR). This ensures that passengers see the same live information whether they choose to look for it on station screens, on the internet, via an app, or by asking station staff.

I hadn't realised that there wasn't already one single system for this, why has it taken so long? And I presume the launch went smoothly?
 
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swt_passenger

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I hadn't realised that there wasn't already one single system for this, why has it taken so long? And I presume the launch went smoothly?

There have been a number of comments in earlier threads (usually about inaccurate information display during disruption) that have mentioned how useless the change over to Darwin has been so far.

Wasn't the recent general lack of platform number information in enquiry systems a Darwin failure?

It would probably be a bit of a stretch to presume it actually works 100% - so far...
 

Flamingo

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When I read the thread title, I thought this was something to do with the Darwin awards...


I'll get my coat...
 

infobleep

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Well it hasn't totally improved the information available on the National Rail Enquiries App during disruption. You can still get multiple stations appearing.

It seems as if every change a member of staff makes goes recorded and not overwritten by a new version. It just gets added to. So you can effectively see all the steps a member of staff made including any mistakes in the heat of the moment.

I may be totally wrong about my reasoning there. It's an educated guess.

The platform number issues related to the fact it didn't seem to be possible to continue with the existing systems whilst upgrading to Darwin. South West Trains had a lot of technical issues, hence the very long time apps couldn't display their platform numbers.

I've never come across It systems before whereby the had to switch off existing systems whilst upgrading. I'm not doubting it was required.

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SpacePhoenix

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Was SWTs PIS down yesterday afternoon/evening? Both trains I was on just displayed the time and coach number, with no automated announcements
 

Clip

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Was SWTs PIS down yesterday afternoon/evening? Both trains I was on just displayed the time and coach number, with no automated announcements


Been like that for a while now on set every time I've been on them
 

Expression357

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Darwin comes to best effect in respect of long distance services that cross multiple control centres.

So for instance, a XC service from Cornwall to Scotland will cross GWR stations (CIS controlled at Swindon, say), New Street (controlled locally), through the East Mids at the likes of Derby, Chesterfield, Sheffield (controlled by Derby EMCC), and up the East Coast (controlled by York ROC).

Normally, if that service was to, say, terminate at Newcastle vice Aberdeen, then all those controls would have to individually undertake the alteration.

Now, simply put, with Darwin, a change made at one control to affect the destination at be Newcastle vice Aberdeen will send this to all the other CIS controls without the need to undertake double / triple / quadruple entry.

Darwin can also take a delay/cancellation reason (from the extended approved list).

At the same time, whatever is in Darwin system for the departure boards on the stations is also sent to phone apps and websites that take the Darwin feed with the grand vision of "one version of the truth".
 

infobleep

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I take it Darwin can be overridden such as when South West Trains decide to only display the trians after are running at stations but National Rail Enquiries app still continues to list them all.

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jon0844

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I do think all apps should have a way to show that an emergency timetable is in operation, or that in severe disruption, services will only show that are confirmed. Clearly open data needs to have this info so the apps can do this automatically.

Clearly if there's disruption and you still need to travel, the information on the app may be next to useless, but you would at least know what's going on.

We've had situations where all services show as On Time but won't be as they don't exist, or the opposite where all services show as cancelled, but trains DO run.
 

swt_passenger

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Was SWTs PIS down yesterday afternoon/evening? Both trains I was on just displayed the time and coach number, with no automated announcements

There's no connection between Darwin and onboard PIS, unless that's a future phase?

So to the best of my knowledge the problem you saw simply means the train has not had its service calling pattern loaded into the PIS.
 

SpacePhoenix

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There's no connection between Darwin and onboard PIS, unless that's a future phase?

So to the best of my knowledge the problem you saw simply means the train has not had its service calling pattern loaded into the PIS.

The train in the morning going towards Woking had the guard announcing an extra stop at Wimbledon as the train was leaving each station so maybe some guards chose not to select auto PA announcements and to do them manually
 

tsr

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The train in the morning going towards Woking had the guard announcing an extra stop at Wimbledon as the train was leaving each station so maybe some guards chose not to select auto PA announcements and to do them manually

None of the stock I sign will allow stops to be added to any of the (very numerous) preset calling patterns available - removal of stops can be done on some systems, but adding them isn't possible, for reasons best known to those who designed Mitrac et al.

I can only assume this might also be the case on some SWT stock, or else it is very fiddly to enter additional stops. Also, manual announcements can be phrased however necessary to get people's attention in different ways if needed.
 
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ComUtoR

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None of the stock I sign will allow stops to be added to any of the (very numerous) preset calling patterns available - removal of stops can be done on some systems, but adding them isn't possible, for reasons best known to those who designed Mitrac et al.

On our Mitrac some of the calling patterns are all stations and they have the little red x next to the missed stops. On ours you can select the red x and reinstate the stations.
 

TheManBehind

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None of the stock I sign will allow stops to be added to any of the (very numerous) preset calling patterns available - removal of stops can be done on some systems, but adding them isn't possible, for reasons best known to those who designed Mitrac et al.

I can only assume this might also be the case on some SWT stock, or else it is very fiddly to enter additional stops. Also, manual announcements can be phrased however necessary to get people's attention in different ways if needed.

SWT PIS has set patterns entered as a 4-digit code, they can't be altered. There should be special codes, but they're not always uploaded to every unit (each unit takes around an hour to update, mustn't be coupled to any other unit at the time of update), so some guards just prefer to manually announce.
 

tsr

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On our Mitrac some of the calling patterns are all stations and they have the little red x next to the missed stops. On ours you can select the red x and reinstate the stations.

That's interesting. Never heard that from any of the staff I work with, or seen it in any traction manuals (IIRC). Is that for 377s and 387s?
 

TEW

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SWT PIS has set patterns entered as a 4-digit code, they can't be altered. There should be special codes, but they're not always uploaded to every unit (each unit takes around an hour to update, mustn't be coupled to any other unit at the time of update), so some guards just prefer to manually announce.

And there isn't always a PIS code for every set of engineering works or special event etc. And even if there is a PIS code for the calling pattern it may not be printed on the guard's schedule card.
 

SpacePhoenix

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Is the Mitrac interface touch-screen? If it is when the guard enters the PIS code for the journey does it display a list of all stations for the route with the ones to be called at highlighted?
 

TEW

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Is the Mitrac interface touch-screen? If it is when the guard enters the PIS code for the journey does it display a list of all stations for the route with the ones to be called at highlighted?

I can't comment on Mitral but the SWT system is nowhere near that sophisticated. On a Desiro once you enter the code you have no idea what it is until it starts announcing it. On a 455/456 you do get the origin and destination listed before you confirm the code, but still no idea of calling pattern. I think there are around 50 different London Waterloo-Guildford codes and they all just show as the same when you enter them.
 

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ComUtoR

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That's interesting. Never heard that from any of the staff I work with, or seen it in any traction manuals (IIRC). Is that for 377s and 387s?


376. When you type the PIS code in you get the route come up and you get a black triangle in the top right corner. If you press that, before you confirm, it displays the entire route. Some have the route but with a red x for the missed stops and some will have just the stops (yes its stupid). When I get a stop order I will typically go back in and set the route again but deselect any changed stops. Or just switch it off and manual announcements.

We used to have route code books so if you were diverted you could select the new route and then amend the calling pattern (find something with all stations then deselect)

The Mitrac is well worth playing about with when you get a few minutes in the sidings.
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That looks *very* promising to me - connections with live platform information would be particularly useful.

Careful what you wish for.

How many threads we gonna have complaining about the pointless and superfluous platform information or anouncements about disruption in Victoria when your heading for Charing Cross
 

infobleep

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I noticed recently that National Rail Enquiries App is not displaying platform numbers for South West Trains stations. Have they hit another technical problems? There's not been any announcement on Journey Check about issues but may be they don't wish to publicise it.

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SpacePhoenix

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I noticed recently that National Rail Enquiries App is not displaying platform numbers for South West Trains stations. Have they hit another technical problems? There's not been any announcement on Journey Check about issues but may be they don't wish to publicise it.

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Possibly with the various signalling issues over the last week or so they might have decided to hide the platform numbers from the app in case trains get re-routed at the last moment to a different platform one one advertised in the app
 

infobleep

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Possibly with the various signalling issues over the last week or so they might have decided to hide the platform numbers from the app in case trains get re-routed at the last moment to a different platform one one advertised in the app
They can't stop real train times though and at many stations they only have two platforms so rerouting isn't possible, short of cancelling the train from that stop.

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greaterwest

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They can't stop real train times though and at many stations they only have two platforms so rerouting isn't possible, short of cancelling the train from that stop.

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Have you ever heard of bi-directional working?
 
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