ProRail boosts operational efficiency by modernizing its dispatching system
Headquartered in Utrecht, the Netherlands, ProRail is a government-tasked railway infrastructure manager with a workforce of over 4,000 employees. The company is responsible for the maintenance and extensions of the national railway infrastructure, ensuring its quality and safety while also enhancing its efficiency and capacity.
Established in 2005, ProRail has been a pivotal force in the Dutch rail industry, dedicated to offering a robust, reliable, and growing railway network for the country. They coordinate the rail traffic, provide information to all train operators, manage and allocate rail capacity, and ensure the safety and continuity of Dutch rail services. Their commitment to sustainability, innovation, and public welfare defines their operations, contributing to the Netherlands’ mobility and economic growth.
As a central operator in the Dutch railway infrastructure, ProRail faced challenges associated with the increasing complexity of railway traffic and the heightened need for improved operational efficiency and technology integrations. The need for a more responsive and efficient dispatching system was becoming increasingly clear in the face of these developments. ProRail’s legacy dispatching system, while reliable in the past, was starting to show its age. Sporadic system outages were disrupting rail traffic and considerable overhead was required to maintain operations. The system’s inefficiency was further exacerbated by the decentralized redundant server arrays at every major geographical location. The hardware consoles, built on outdated technology, were driving up the cost of ownership due to the difficulty in sourcing components. In addition, the old consoles limited operator efficiency and offered minimal customisation options.
Addressing these challenges, ProRail embarked on a strategic partnership with RideOnTrack and Nokia, aiming to modernize its dispatching system. The partnership resulted in the successful integration of RideOnTrack’s DiCa dispatcher console hardware and MCCS (Mission-Critical Communication System) dispatching software stack with Nokia’s core network solution.
The MCCS platform and DiCa hardware brought distinct benefits to ProRail’s dispatching system:
The MCCS platform streamlined the hardware system by centralizing all communication traffic. This major change led to a reduction in the required server infrastructure from around 100 servers to 6 servers. Further enhancing system reliability, the MCCS platform offers built-in layers of redundancy, ensuring greater call stability and protecting against system outages. The MCCS platform also facilitated the establishment of a centralized system for user and permission management, enabling smoother and more efficient functional configurations across the organization. The user-friendly interface and easy operation meant that dispatching operators required minimal training to adapt to the new setup, thereby enhancing overall operational efficiency.
The DiCa console uses industrial-grade components, including a large capacitive touchscreen with long MTBF (Mean time between failures). Additionally, the console allows operators to adjust the screen brightness according to their preferences and ambient light conditions, enhancing comfort during prolonged use. The console’s plug-and-play functionality automatically downloads the latest software from the centralized server, making sure dispatch operators always have access to the most recent functionalities. The console comes equipped with a ‘busylight’ that displays the dispatch operator’s call status, providing clear and immediate visual communication to colleagues and supervisors about the operator’s availability. In order to integrate effectively with ProRail’s redundant network infrastructure, the console is equipped with redundant ethernet connections, thereby strengthening system reliability and network stability.
The successful nationwide implementation of the Nokia & RideOnTrack’s dispatching solution marked a significant milestone for ProRail’s ambitions of increased operational efficiency. The transition happened smoothly, with no disruption to the call flow, demonstrating the solution’s effectiveness in a live environment. Initial feedback from operators across the country has been overwhelmingly positive, citing increased functionality, ease of use, and improved system speed. This upgrade has dramatically enhanced ProRail’s operational efficiency, with further improvements anticipated as the system continues to be optimized and fine-tuned.
See how ProRail’s ICT department leverages our dispatching technology
Explore ProRail’s video showcasing their innovative ICT department. This video demonstrates RideOnTrack’s dispatching solution in action. Witness firsthand how the MCCS platform and DiCa hardware, have been integrated into ProRail’s day-to-day operations. RideOnTrack is proud to support ProRail’s commitment to improving railway communications and ensuring great call service for all operators.See video