Network Rail Analytics

Network Rail owns and operates the railway infrastructure in England, Wales and Scotland on behalf of the nation.

That’s 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges and viaducts and thousands of signals, level crossings and points. It also manages rail timetabling and 20 of the largest stations in England, Scotland and Wales.

 Train arrival board
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The challenge

Network Rail had amassed a huge amount of project related information into a central data warehouse. Whilst their reporting was effective they needed to extract more value from their data, particularly exploiting the potential of machine learning to improve their project assurance activity.

How we did it

This was an exploratory project and it was important that the approach demonstrated value during each phase. The agile approach ensured the project could pivot quickly when a new opportunity emerged.

It was necessary to develop deep empathy for the business operation, how the current systems supported the real-world process and how users interacted with the core applications. This understanding enabled the project team to better interpret both the underlying data and how to approach the analytic questions. To enable the organisation to look to the future we constructed a ‘time machine’ which enabled us to go back to any point in time to view key KPI’s. Predictive analytics were then deployed to report future performance. We were also able to go to any point in time to ascertain how accurate past reporting had been.

To improve both data quality and process compliance we developed a ‘digital twin’ of the core processes. We also needed to extract data from Network Rail’s core systems, denormalise it and prepare it for advanced analytics (AWS and Databricks were selected) To support business reporting a Redshift/PowerBI solution was implemented.

 

 

The Results

  • We continue to work with Network Rail in realising the full potential of this solution.
  • At present, the solution is being utilised to:
  • Drive accurate core board-level reporting.
  • Produce process compliance reports.
  • Complete bespoke analysis that would have traditionally been completed using manual extracts and Excel, saving time and money.
  • In addition, the core infrastructure has facilitated the way to more agile databased management techniques.

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Network Rail Analytics

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