Smartphones transforming rail maintenance, says NR

Network Rail says widespread use of smartphone and tablet technology is transforming railway maintenance.

In the past four years it has issued more than 25,000 iPads and iPhones to staff, with access to more than 60 applications developed in-house by the company. The company says the rollout of such technology will help create efficiencies worth £700 million in the next ten years.

The technology provides staff with access to information and technical data, with location information and streamlined reporting.

Among the applications is hazard reporting software Close Call, which allows 14,000 maintenance staff to report hazards as they are found. Since its introduction in January 14, 62,855 reports have been made (around 80% of all ‘close calls’ reported in the period).

The MyWork application provides an overview of all the jobs that a team needs to complete on a shift, with daily job schedules delivered electronically to more than 14,000 staff.

The Sentinel application allows field managers to electronically scan identify cards, verifying that workers are qualified to perform their tasks.

And the Where Am I application allows NR’s air operations team to precisely pinpoint faults, incidents and cable thefts, for ground maintenance teams and the emergency services to respond to.

Rugby-based Network Rail maintenance team leader Philip Entwistle said: “In the old days, you tended to leave stuff behind as you didn’t want to carry reams of paperwork, folders and manuals. Now that’s all accessible via our iPhone or iPad. I regularly use the Close Call app to take photos of anything I see that could cause a safety risk to staff or passengers, and can quickly create a report in the app and send it across to our call centre, who can respond. Nothing gets lost that way, it’s a lot safer.”

A short film of how NR uses the technology is available at

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  • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 09/11/2015 21:16

    New technology for staff to use means helpful customer service for passengers on where is the next train and if there is any cancellations and delays to services that is affected for example-signalling problems, bad weather conditions, overhead Wire problems/DC 3rd Rail problems, broken down train, lack of staff, incidents, derailments and other issues that affects all services to be disrupted.

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