UK: Alstom announced on December 21 that it had signed an agreement to buy onboard connectivity technology company Nomad Digital for an undisclosed price.

Alstom said Nomad would bring ‘complementary leading-edge products’ and a strong global footprint with 80 major customers in more than 40 countries, which would accelerate its own ‘Digital Train’ developments.

Nomad is currently owned by investors including Amadeus Capital Partners, SEB Venture Capital and Deutsche Telekom Strategic Investments. The sale is expected to close in early January 2017, with Nomad Holdings Ltd becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of within the Alstom Digital Mobility unit. Alstom said it would integrate Nomad Digital into the group ‘whilst ensuring that Nomad Holdings operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary, retaining its well-known brand and independent identity.’

Founded in 2002, Nomad now employs around 230 people, with its headquarters in Newcastle and 13 offices in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Canada, Australia and the USA. It says its technology is used by 1·7 billion passengers/year on 17 000 vehicles across more than 100 fleets, and 36 000 information screens. It carries seven million wi-fi sessions monthly.

Nomad has also developed the Nomad Tech maintenance and remote diagnostics joint venture with Portuguese company EMEF. One of Nomad Tech’s first projects was to implement a condition-based maintenance regime for the fleet of Pendolino tilting trainsets operated by CP from Contumil depot in Porto.

‘Alstom’s acquisition of Nomad is fabulous news for our staff, our customers and our partners’, said Nomad Group CEO Andrew Taylor. ‘From day one we will have a joined-up strategy and vision around the realisation of the Digital Train. We look forward in the weeks and months ahead to strengthening our capabilities in this domain, and ensuring that we maintain our focus on delivering innovative solutions and services to both our current and new customers.’

Amadeus Capital Partners CEO Anne Glover said ACP ‘foresaw the increasing demand from rail passengers for better internet connectivity during journeys’ when it invested in Nomad in 2006, and was ‘delighted that a major rail company has recognised the value of Nomad’s visionary strategy, which has expanded to the fully connected train, and the global footprint they have achieved.’

  • An interview with Andrew Taylor appeared in the February 2016 issue of Railway Gazette International and a case study of Nomad Tech’s work on the CP Pendolino fleet appeared in the February 2014 issue. Both are available to subscribers via the digital archive.