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Matt Miller16 Apr, 2021

ProRail optimizes operations in one of the world’s busiest railways

Dutch national railway takes control of its data to improve reliability, efficiency, sustainability, and innovation
ProRail data liberation

Dutch Railways runs on schedule over 92% of the time. But that punctuality comes at a price. On the back end, operators are assessing data around the clock to ensure service that is safe, timely, and reliable. 

ProRail, the Dutch railway infrastructure manager, has launched a new comprehensive data management platform designed to meet increasing demands for reliability, efficiency, sustainability, and innovation across its vast network. At RailTech Europe 2021, the ProRail Monitoring Platform (PMP) was announced. It is the result of a multi-year collaboration with global IT and business consulting services firm CGI, along with OSIsoft, now part of global industrial software leader AVEVA.

ProRail is responsible for the maintenance, renewal, expansion, and safety of one of the world’s busiest rail networks. Designed, implemented, and administered by CGI and based on OSIsoft’s PI System, PMP gives ProRail unprecedented visibility into the state of its rail infrastructure. This means ProRail can quickly and accurately assess the performance of critical assets, detect anomalies, prevent malfunctions, and keep more trains on time. PMP allows ProRail to securely share critical data with third-party service providers that monitor and maintain essential elements of the rail infrastructure. Cross-enterprise data sharing between ProRail and its partners helps to ensure the efficiency, reliability, and safety of the entire railway system. 

PMP will help ProRail operations transition from condition-based monitoring to predictive maintenance, and from cost reduction to resource re-alignment. ProRail is also using PMP’s data and advanced analytics capabilities to support other aspects of its strategic plan. ProRail is looking to become more data-driven in its energy efficiency, carbon footprint reduction, and new developments in its innovation lab and university research collaborations.

Using operations data as a strategic business asset 

Prior to PMP, ProRail relied on disparate systems and parties, each of which were responsible for different parts of the network, to monitor its infrastructure assets – from switches and heating systems, to bridges and tunnels with over 7,000 kilometers of rail track. This fragmented approach led to inefficiencies in record keeping, maintenance recommendations, and cost control measures. Lacking a holistic view of assets and services hindered ProRail’s ability to innovate.

Determining that its operations data is a strategic business asset, ProRail conducted a rigorous tender process, completed in 2018. ProRail engaged CGI to design and implement a single, scalable system that would give ProRail real-time access to all its data and the ability to extract valuable operational insights.

PMP is based on the PI System and delivered via the cloud. The PI System automatically captures sensor data from every relevant source, refines and contextualizes the data, and delivers it to a broad ecosystem of people, tools, and applications for analysis and decision making. CGI delivered the system and is responsible for ongoing cloud hosting, maintenance, and management, among other services. PMP gives ProRail full, dynamic control of information about all rail infrastructure components, with real-time insight into operational status and visualization of patterns and trends. 

Sharing information with employees, contractors, and service providers means ProRail can optimize assets, anticipate behavior, and prevent malfunctions faster and better. Ultimately, ProRail expects the platform to help reduce management costs, increase reliability, and improve service for transport operators and passengers. 

That means getting more people from point A to point B quickly, efficiently, and safely.

Matt MillerIndustry Principal for TransportationMatt has a broad background in developing industrial electronics, automated control and information system software for OEM’s and enterprises. Before working at AVEVA, Matt spent 35 years in numerous sales, marketing, and management roles at OSIsoft, Viewtronics and Xycom. As a degreed electronics engineer with specialty in computer-based controls and decades of market experience, Matt has been working with leading technology firms to bring real-time performance intelligence to the supply chain and smart city initiatives.
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