Case Study Control and Display

Inform Passenger Information - Western Route, Network Rail

L.B. Foster worked in partnership with Network Rail to design, visualise and deploy disruption route mapping for Network Rail’s Western Route into and out of Paddington, Reading and Bristol Temple Meads stations.

Network Rail’s Western route stretches from London Paddington to Penzance, through Bristol and up to the boundaries with Wales, the Cotswolds and Hampshire.

It operates, maintains and is renewing more than 2,000 miles of railway, including the historic Great Western Main Line, conceived by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. There are 198 stations on the route, and Network Rail manages London Paddington, Reading and Bristol Temple Meads stations. Following a 10 year, multi-billion-pound upgrade programme, Network Rail now operates electric services between the west of England and London for the first time.

The disruption route mapping solution is part of L.B. Foster’s Inform Media software suite. The maps are delivered using L.B. Foster’s Inform mobile and fixed totems, and wall-mounted digital screens.

Our starting conversation with the team at L.B. Foster was around deploying rainbow boards via Inform mobile totems. This quickly transformed into a considerably more customercentric solution using L.B. Foster’s Inform Media software to present passengers with simple route maps clearly showing the location of any reported disruption.

Bernadette Sasche, Station Manager, Network Rail


Network Rail’s ‘Putting passengers first’ initiative is focused on not just delivering large-scale infrastructure projects and railway improvements, but ensuring that the more than 4.8 million rail journeys that are made every day in the UK are made easier and more convenient for fare-paying passengers.

Network Rail previously identified a requirement on its Western Route to provide passengers with improved journey information comprising rainbow boards similar to those used by London Underground. Simple colour coding was used to highlight the condition of services, informing customers of any potential disruptions or delays.

L.B. Foster subsequently looked into the detail of these route sections and found that disruption route mapping, similar to those deployed for TransPennine Express and South Western Railways, provided an improved customer experience. Network Rail liked the maps and gave the go-ahead to proceed.

Our solution

Inform Media by L.B. Foster is a comprehensive end-to-end digital navigator platform that brings together journey planning data feeds from a variety of sources to inform personal and business travel decision-making. The integrated hardware and software solution combines the latest in high definition, touchscreen technology with tailored data feeds. Inform Media focuses on the total journey line.

Network Rail was keen to provide improved disruption information to passengers. The team at L.B. Foster spent half a day at Paddington station with members of Network Rail staff, scoping out the routes which serve each of the three stations, identifying which stations and sections would be relevant to passengers catching trains.

Using train operating company’s timetables and, L.B. Foster drafted wireframe diagrams to help visualise the final disruption route mapping solution. The team then combined the disruption data feeds for Great Western Railway and South Western Railway to show disruption information from multiple sources on screens deployed at each of the stations. Maps and feeds are hosted on L.B. Foster’s Inform Media portal where they can be added to playlists to be shown on screens for passengers on Network Rail’s Western Route.

The combination of a mobile, wireless, battery-powered digital display and powerful Inform Media software delivers powerful passenger disruption route mapping information to our customers when and where it’s needed.

Having L.B. Foster’s Inform totems as part of our armoury has enabled us to deliver high quality communications to passengers as they pass through the station.

Calum MacKay, Stations Transformation Programme Manager, Network Rail