This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
COMMENT


‘I’d be happy to just tell me the


From dial tones to smartphones: Why can’t rail move as fast as other industries, like telecomms?


Among the busiest and best-received talks at Railtex was an incisive analysis by Christian Fry of Invensys about the barriers to innovation in rail and what can be done differently. RTM thought his talk deserved as wide an audience as possible, so we reproduce it here.


I’ve


been in the rail industry for about 15 years, three of which


have been in signalling and train control, but primarily I have worked in the area of innovation and business transformation.


I want to refl ect on what I’ve learnt over those 15 years and what I see as the chal- lenges for us as an industry.


Demand for the railway is changing. We’re seeing a demand to increase the number of people we can move into and out of our cities as we go for greater urbanisations. Potentially, we stand on the dawn of a new ‘golden age’ for the railways; rail could re- ally solve many of our transport problems.


To get there, we need the industry to trans- form, and fundamentally change the way we look at the railway and do things differ- ently.


32 | rail technology magazine Jun/Jul 11


One of the biggest challenges we face is the scale of the national network and the com- plexity of bringing about a change within that context. As an industry, we face lots of not only technological barriers to innova- tion, but also structural and cultural bar- riers, which really do affect our ability to make transformational change.


No sign yet


Most of you will be aware of ERTMS. We think of it as being a major change, but here we are, nearly 20 years since it was conceived of and initiated, yet there’s still very little of a trans-European network in place. Many of the operators that made investments early on report a high cost and lack of benefi ts. Despite the fact it was brought in for good reasons – the free movement of people and goods and capital – and aimed at increasing competition in


the marketplace – it seems to be failing to deliver in those areas.


One of the problems with ERTMS is the myriad of national systems in different countries, and they’re all proprietary tech- nologies, so you have to fi t trains with mul- tiple systems to cross borders. The idea of ERTMS, to unify that, sounds great in principle.


However, the problem is that the benefi t is only realised when the entire network is fi t- ted; otherwise all you’re doing is fi tting an- other system onto the railway. That’s chal- lenging the business case for it. It means that some 20 years on, it’s still failed to transform the railway.


Demand-led If we turn our mind to the UK main lines,


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116