• Case Studies

    Network Rail – Kent & South East London

    Optilan applied knowledge, experience and flexibility to install new public communication systems across one of the busiest rail networks in the UK.

Delivering Enhanced Rail Passenger Experience


With more than 2,000 trains operating, carrying 300,000 passengers every weekday, the railway network in Kent and South East London is among the busiest and most congested in the country. The infrastructure is also some of the oldest and most complex, which means it is more difficult to maintain, leading to faults and delays for passengers. Customer information and public address systems contribute to the overall passenger experience and support safety by assuring smooth flow of movement.

The Remit

Due to the expired life expectancy of Network Rail’s (NR) Customer Information Systems (CIS) and Public Address (PA) systems, it required a series of renewals to comply fully with NR Standards. Optilan was selected to deliver the project, which included the implementation of an upgraded public announcement system at 113 stations across Kent, East Sussex, and South East London.

The Optilan Approach

The project involved assessing 113 stations simultaneously and posed challenges from a design, procurement and build perspective. As with all major projects, the key to a successful solution lay in meticulous planning and professional project management.

Optilan designed a system to NR standards, using NR product approved equipment and deploying engineers that hold the relevant NR accreditations. Utilising its sector expertise and resources, Optilan managed client risk by enabling effective collaboration among relevant stakeholders to translate system goals from NR standards into a workable solution and programme.

It applied its expertise to manage the transition to the new system without impact to rail operations, and added further value by taking on additional scope to rationalise site activities and manpower, simplifying the delivery engagement.

Throughout the design and implementation, Optilan worked closely with additional stakeholders such as South Eastern and British Transport Police to meet project requirements. This was in order for them to express full acceptance of all changes prior to instigation.

To ensure successful project delivery, Optilan consistently provides:

  • a strong and detailed understanding of the technical scope
  • the ability to adjust to project alterations rapidly – and provide alternative solutions, when required, to meet exact site requirements
  • a highly skilled and experienced workforce
  • continuity and interdependency that results from the unification of industry disciplines.

The Result

For NR, passenger experience forms the focus of its daily operations. With the right technology solution from Optilan, it was able to deliver an enhanced customer experience for rail users across the stations, improving the value of its services to the public.

Optilan’s scope of work included:

  • Developing, designing and installing an equipment count efficient solution capable of the required performance
  • Installing 400 CIS displays across the stations
  • Installing 3,700 speakers and 80 PA systems
  • Working in partnership with NR to rationalise existing cable containment to overcome issues relating to limited capacity in their current containment for the new system
  • 130km of cabling to support the new systems
Client Network Rail
Location Kent, East Sussex and South East London rail network
'Utilising an effective and collaborative approach with Network Rail, Optilan worked extremely hard to overcome all obstacles. The installations were handled with ease, with minimal disruption to rail operations whilst installation work was taking place. This provided substantial material savings to the customer.’

Eamonn Brady


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