Railway lines London; Railway lines London;

ORBIS, Nationwide

Changing data management in the rail industry

In an increasingly digital world, data is key to improving capacity, performance and customer experience on our rail networks.

Intelligent infrastructure in the rail industry brings real time performance updates and predictive maintenance, resulting in cost savings and efficiency. Working with Network Rail we are participating in a major change programme, 'Offering Rail Better Information Services' (ORBIS) to revolutionise the way information is captured, stored, managed and exploited across the network.

Our Programme and Project Management team supported by other groups within Arup are delivering digital transformation projects as part of a digitally enabled asset management strategy within Network Rail. Leveraging the power of data, we are delivering four of the key ORBIS projects in Network Rail’s Control Period 5 plan: 

  • Rail Infrastructure Network Model (RINM) Data Acquisition;

  • Exchange of Asset Information (EAI);

  • Ellipse Exploitation (EE);

  • Decision Support Tools (DST).

Through understanding Network Rail’s asset data and models, we have supported the business change initiative at a technical and user level. 

Project Summary

£336m change programme

20,000miles of Network Rail track

Visualising rail assets in a geo-spatial world

The opportunity to visualise the railway from a geospatial perspective has changed how Network Rail teams work. The Rail Infrastructure Network Model (RINM), and specifically the Geo-RINM viewer (GRV), enable users to view individual assets, the environment surrounding these assets, the proposed worksite and identify any hazards before sending Network Rail staff and contractors to the site. Arup have been instrumental in the development of RINM and GRV through the definition of data requirements and leading major data acquisition and validation projects which were pivotal to its overall success.

The adoption of this new technology removes the need for site visits to carry out surveys and allows teams to make accurate calculations of heights and areas for project material estimations, resulting in increased efficiencies and cost savings.

Optimising the exchange of asset information

Improving the process for asset information handover and handback for infrastructure change projects offers significant benefits in efficiency of data management, improvement of quality and cost savings. The Exchange of Asset Information (EAI) project aims to formalise and optimise asset information exchange between Network Rail and its supply chain, enabling a single platform for those planning and delivering work on the railway.

Our combined approach in providing business and technical architecture and design, investment case support, requirements management, process writing and formulation of the data quality and governance approach has facilitated the project passing multiple investment stage gates. We have helped to create a standardised approach on data management allowing for transparency and confidence that all asset information is correct and up to date for any future infrastructure change project. 


Exploiting data and systems

Clean, accurate and complete data allows for more robust forecasting, the enabling of tactical short and long-term planning and optimising asset performance. Ellipse is Network Rail’s Enterprise Asset Management system which is the core asset register for Network Rail data and it’s work management system for maintenance activities.

Arup led the Ellipse Exploitation programme of work which delivered a major data transformation to data structures held in Ellipse, defined a governance approach for the management of change in Ellipse and also delivered KPI dashboards based on Ellipse data to be used at exec level to drive policy.  

Liverpool Street Station, UK Liverpool Street Station, UK
This programme underpins Network Rail’s strategic vision to move away from reactive type maintenance to a predict and prevent type approach in the future.

Optimising renewals and maintenance decisions

Disparate sources of information reduce efficiency and impact on passenger service and operations as asset managers are not able to make optimised renewals and maintenance decisions.  Network Rail are delivering Decision Support Tools (DSTs) which aim to integrate data sources into a user-friendly dashboard where data can be easily searched, filtered and sorted.  The tools also include linear trend analysis functionality in order to predict when certain faults may arise. 

We have led the DSTs workstream, project managing the development of the track, signalling and level crossing tools creating up to date, aligned asset data accessible by a single dashboard. 

Understanding the need to shift from existing time-based procedures to a condition and risk-based approach to maintenance and renewal work, Arup has worked to deliver this complex dashboard solution.