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Datum Welcome Government Rail Strategy

November 30, 2017

Datum Group CEO Rory O’Rourke last night welcomed the Government’s new rail strategy.

He claims the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s ‘Strategic Vision for Rail‘ is a step in the right direction and feels the desire to unite track and train operations is long overdue.

Mr Grayling announced a wide range of reforms designed to improve the UK rail network for passengers and freight, which includes the potential reopening of more than 4,000 miles of rail routes lost in the 1960s.

His vision includes:

  • restoration of rail routes
  • expansion of the rail network
  • an evolution of the franchising system
  • improve passenger experience through technology
  • extended passenger rights


Mr Grayling, said: “The last few years have seen massive growth on Britain’s railways. This industry has reversed decades of decline under British Rail, delivered new investment and new trains, and doubled the number of passengers.

“We need to build on that success by building a new model for the 2020s and beyond, one more able to deal with the huge rise in passenger numbers and the challenges of an increasingly congested network.

“Rail passengers deserve a more reliable, more efficient service – and I will deliver it by ending the one-size-fits-all approach of franchising and bringing closer together the best of the public and private sector.”

Key to the proposals – contained in the government’s Vision For Rail announced on November 29, 2017 – include the desire to reunite track and train operations and to utilise modern technology to improve customer experience.

The reforms build on recommendations made by Sir Roy McNulty in 2011 and Nicola Shaw in 2016. Sir McNulty suggested the need for a greater alignment of the industry and the uniting of track and train operators, while the Shaw Report into the structure of Network Rail which recommended a much more devolved structure.


Datum Group CEO Rory O’Rourke, added: “Our railways are busier than ever and so the Transport Secretary’s report is certainly a step in the right direction. Some would say this is long overdue, but now the government have to follow through and make these proposals a reality.

“Technology has advanced at such breakneck speed and we at The Datum Group have made huge breakthroughs in equipment designed to protect rail users and improve services. Sometimes such advances are not shared across the industry, which can be hugely frustrating.

“Improving the way track and train work together has to be good thing for the industry. Since privatisation of the railways in the 1990s track and train have been owned and operated by different organisations. That can creates a lack of cohesion.

“More carriages, longer trains and more passengers mean more work for our largely ageing, but robust, infrastructure. But technological solutions, like those developed by the Datum Group, mean it can easily cope if we work together and utilise SMART technology for the common good.”

Track Monitoring

The Datum Group have developed a number of innovative, remote track monitoring systems designed to improve safety and help Permanent Way Managers manage and maintain the UK rail infrastructure.

RailtempMate is a Network Rail approved critical rail temperature monitoring system which removes the need to physically attend the track. The solar powered monitoring units stream rail track temperatures, providing continual readings.

This data is used to anticipate potential failures, avoid unnecessary speed restrictions and minimise the time spent working on or near the line.

Similarly, the Network Rail approved VoidMate an innovative dynamic track void monitoring system. It continually streams data to Permanent Way managers providing them with continuous recording of track stability.

O’Rourke, added: “The potential restoration of thousands of stations and hundreds of branch lines shut down on the recommendation of the former British Railways chairman Dr Richard Beeching is exciting.

“Some of those closures were forced by declining passengers numbers as more people started to use cars but this trend has reversed in recent years due to congestion, environmental concerns and the rise of monitoring costs.

“More people would use the trains if they could get to them. If we can address overcrowding and improve reliability – all of which are possible with the right investment and commitment to follow through and deliver these proposals from the Government, then this strategic approach is most welcome.”

Chris Grayling Announcement

Rail Strategy Animation

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