Supplying information in under 300 milliseconds, the unique message pipeline is the first of its kind used by Rail Delivery Group and is set to revolutionise passenger information delivery across the UK rail network.
Using a cloud-based message system, IJYI’s platform – uniquely created for Rail Delivery Group – consolidates multiple systems such as scheduling, station facilities, delays and tube statuses into a single data feed, delivering real-time accurate information to passengers aboard UK trains.
Rail Delivery Group was formed in 2016 to combine the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), set up after privatisation in 1993, and the, then, Rail Delivery Group.
With common goals of preserving and enhancing the passenger benefits of a national network and taking a responsibility for policy and communications on behalf of the whole industry, the two bodies merged.
As a core part of its Customer Information Strategy, Rail Delivery Group needed to deliver accurate information to passengers aboard UK trains. It needed to make real-time information available from Darwin, the official train-running engine, and other information sources such as KnowledgeBase, Fabrik and TFL Underground.
Working with IJYI – specialists in bespoke software development and DevOps Consultancy – Darwin4Trains was created, delivering real-time information in the form of push notifications onboard trains. Prior to this, train drivers would have been informed by telephone and would manually type the information for passenger display boards.
The six-person team, comprising of a project manager, four developers
and one Q&A tester worked closely with the product owner at Rail Delivery Group, creating a cohesive team approach. Daily update calls and an ongoing dialogue throughout enabled continuous progress tracking.
This partnership approach gave the RDG team the reassurance that the three-month project was being delivered to specification, meant that it could be tested internally at RDG as it was being built and also, importantly, gave the developers the opportunity to react to any emerging requirements and even deliver functionality that wasn’t part of the original brief.
Flexibility is built into the infrastructure of Darwin4Trains, thanks to Amazon’s AWS cloud. When sudden usage spikes occur, for example during bad weather, an auto-scaling facility enables more resource and scales back when it’s no longer required. Providing significant cost-savings, the facility removes the need for bulky and expensive servers that are only required for limited use.
Using AWS also meant that the size of compute resource could be altered during the project delivery, rather than potentially over-allocating in the planning stages.