Amey Consulting with Network Rail

Performance Improvement in the Public Sector

Speed restrictions cost the rail industry millions each year, and the rail industry is under pressure to improve train performance to positively impact the passenger and freight users. Traditionally, speed restrictions are seen as a key contributor to poor performance, and with no accurate way to measure the true performance impact for rail users, the industry wasted money chasing vague, anecdotal accounts of speed restrictions causing the most impact.
Speed restriction information was being manually collated on multiple spreadsheets, and delays were rounded up to-the-minute using the industry standard delay attribution system (TRUST). Speed restrictions are regularly blamed for systemic delays which may have existed prior to the speed limit being implemented, and it was extremely difficult for maintainers to make data-driven decisions around how to effectively prioritise their work banks. If a maintenance unit was managing five speed restrictions and only had the budget to remove two, which should be addressed?

Often, delays are automatically allocated to speed restrictions when there is unexplained delay in that section, meaning the true root cause of delay is regularly misinterpreted.
In response to this, Amey developed SPRINT, a SPeed Restriction INtelligence Tool built for Network Rail (NR) to allow the rail industry to quantify the impact of speed restrictions on performance. SPRINT applies a statistical approach to calculate the time loss associated with a speed restriction, revolutionising the management of speed restrictions by allowing NR to determine the delay associated with a speed restriction and providing a national picture of the impact of speed restrictions through a simple web-based tool.

SPRINT captures high-frequency low-magnitude events which can lead to knock-on or reactionary delays where one late train affects another. By quantifying delays, SPRINT enables maintainers to prioritise which speed restrictions to rectify first, enabling the railway to deliver a higher level of service to passengers and freight users.

It facilitates efficient information sharing across the industry, creating a common language for the industry to operate in, and ensuring speed restrictions receive proportionate attention in performance discussions.
By providing the ability to create actions for individual speed restrictions in the system, SPRINT allows asset maintainers to take ownership of the whole lifecycle of a speed restriction, creating confidence and transparency in the handling of speed restrictions at all levels across the industry. SPRINT has been estimated to save NR circa £25,000 per week through the successful validation of the delay attribution process and has led to a huge reduction in manual workload, allowing NR to re-focus their efforts addressing more performance initiatives.


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