Digital Transformation, one of the most important challenges facing the UK rail industry today, has the potential to deliver to the UK a modern railway network with increased capacity, performance & customer experience. Industry will have a key role to play in realising the benefits of Digital Transformation whilst ensuring that cyber security risks are understood and managed effectively.

Thales in the UK: delivering digital transformation for a modern transportation infrastructure in Britain

Digital Transformation is one of the most important challenges facing the rail industry in Britain today. New digital technology has the potential to deliver to the UK a modern railway network with increased capacity, performance and customer experience.
Thales's capabilities in Traffic Management, Passenger Information, Predict & Prevent and Signalling can be combined to deliver a truly digital railway that will improve journeys across Britain and secure future growth and prosperity for the country as a whole.

Drawing on years of experience delivering solutions to the transportation sector, Thales in the UK will play a key role in realising the benefits of Digital Transformation for customers whilst ensuring that cyber security risks are understood and managed effectively.

Secure by design

Thales understands that Cyber is not just an IT issue, it is an industry-wide business imperative affecting organisations in their entirety and must be addressed at board level. Through its significant rail sector experience, Thales has gained a deep understanding of its customers' goals and the increasingly critical role that technology plays in achieving successful business outcomes. As a market leading cyber security supplier to the defence sector, it works closely with its customers to protect against technology's vulnerabilities from various existing and emerging cyber threats. Thales has unrivalled experience of delivering "secure by design" solutions, systems and methodologies in complex engineering and regulated environments. Thales works hard with its customers to ensure the best cyber protection of their assets and data including non-IT related areas such as organisational structure, quality, people and processes.

Journey planning

Thales’s transport business in the UK has developed and operated Darwin since 2003, a solution which provides real time train information to passengers across the country. Darwin gets 400 million hits per month and on average 3 million enquires per day, allowing passengers to easily access up-to-the-minute information about their journey. After further development, Darwin is now the sole platform of this critical information to all of the UK’s 2,000 CIS (Customer Information System) enabled stations as well as via the National Rail Enquiries website.

Asset management

Over 13,000 points and in total over 40,000 Assets monitored
Over 13,000 points and in total over 40,000 Assets monitored
Thales’ IAM solution monitors and measures the performance of key assets in real time during the normal operation of the railway. The solution currently monitors over 13,000 points and in total over 40,000 Assets typically monitored by non-intrusive sensing devices, connected to data loggers, which capture and transmit the data to a central system for immediate analysis. The scalable central system uses sophisticated analysis techniques and raises alerts and alarms when assets are operating out of tolerance or are trending towards failure, ensuring that maintenance crews concentrate on the key assets that need attention and removing the need for routine inspections on some assets. Key staff can then liaise with maintenance and operations control to ensure that the necessary maintenance activity is performed with minimal disruption, prior to any service affecting failures.

Revenue Management Service

Thales Group - Eurostar Train
In 2006 Eurostar contracted with Thales in the UK’s transportation business to support its Revenue Management Service contract. This contract was renewed in 2013 with a technology refresh and has since been extended again until 2019.
  • Eurostar is the only high-speed train that directly links the UK to mainland Europe
  • Since 1994, Eurostar has carried over 170 million passengers between London and Paris, Lille, Brussels, Calais, Disneyland Paris, Lyon, Avignon and Marseille with a new route planned to Amsterdam
  • State-of-the-art e320 trains carry 20% more passengers, bringing the total number to 900 per train 
Thales’ management service uses a third party product to forecast demand and optimise the number of tickets to be sold to passengers at each price point. The service is delivered through:
  • First and second line product support
  • A dedicated service delivery manager and knowledgeable team
  • Hosting and infrastructure support in UK data centres
  • Project and risk management for major release upgrades and testing activities
  • Innovation and change management
  • Focus on continual service improvement 
The system improves the revenue yield for Eurostar by recommending the number of tickets to be sold at each price point. This improves off-peak prices and increases throughput. The service contract is available to Eurostar analysts for 10 hours each day, thereby enabling them to generate additional revenue.

In 2016, Claire Hennebel, Revenue Manager at Eurostar said,
“Thales has constantly delivered a great service to Eurostar and has always gone the extra mile. Last year, the team proactively identified and corrected issues, even when the root cause was not on their side, over the 4 days of Christmas week end. Thanks to this, we launched our winter promotion smoothly and as planned - that made a big difference!"

"We feel that Thales totally embraces Eurostar’s values 'Ambitious, Caring and Connected', and in that respect, we decided to extend our contract with them for another 3 years."

"Thank you Thales for your attentiveness on behalf of Eurostar!”

In addition to Eurostar, Thales provides managed service contracts to transport customers around the world. The application support team based in Cheadle also provide application support services for the Virgin Trains East Coast revenue management system.