DURING refurbishment of the 75 D78 trainsets used on London Underground's District Line, passenger information displays from Focon will be fitted to the six-car units. The company will also supply displays for use on the 47 eight-car trains to be built by Bombardier for the Victoria Line.

On the D78 stock, front and rear dot matrix displays will show the train's destination. Outward-facing side displays will be fitted in the middle set of windows on each car to provide line and destination information to passengers standing on crowded platforms. Further dot matrix displays will be fitted above the end doors inside the coaches (right).

A public address system will announce station, interchange and other local information, including announcements about travel disruption in the London area to give passengers the earliest opportunity to take a different route to their destination. An initial train has been refurbished as a prototype, and this is expected to re-enter passenger service shortly.

Focon, Denmark

Helsinki metro

HELSINKI City Transport has begun an upgrade of the metro's on-train equipment. Pilon passenger information system modules from SA ViewCom are networked using the Lonworks platform developed by Echelon.

The €8m train refurbishment programme includes the fitting of cab control panels enabling drivers to provide automated announcements and up-to-the-minute train running information. GPS will be used to trigger the display of location and time-based messages, and the emergency alarms are also being modernised.

The flexibility of the modular design makes Lonworks particularly useful when refurbishing an existing on-board information system. All networking requirements can be met with a single set of wires, and it is possible to reuse the existing cabling to save time and reduce installation costs.

* SA Viewcom is to supply in-carriage screens for the refurbishment of South West Trains Class 455 suburban EMUs (p19).

SA ViewCom, Denmark

Echelon, USA

In a Minuetto

INTEGRATED public address and surveillance systems for Minuetto trains in Italy have been supplied by SEPA. Route information can be broadcast to passengers automatically or when triggered by the crew, and the colour graphical displays can also be used to show advertising videos.

Audio and visual information is stored on a removable PC Card, and data can be updated by GSM. At the start of a trip the crew enters the route number, and the computer then automatically manages the external announcements and LED matrix displays showing destination and route information. GPS provides details of the train's location, and the speed and door status are fed from on-board equipment. The crew members are able to interrupt or modify the sequence of messages or broadcast specific announcements using a keyboard and handset in the cab.

Advertising material is stored on a separate PC Card, allowing it to be updated independently of the passenger information.

Sistemi Elettronici Per Automazione, Italy

Korean screens

METRO trains to be built by Rotem for use on Pusan Line 3 and the metro line under construction in Daecheon are to have on-board information and advertising displays supplied by CMK.

As well as providing real-time information, the Info Vision Terminal System will show short items of news and a range of advertisements. The displays will also show safety information, which has been a particular concern in South Korea since the loss of life in an arson attack on a Taegu metro train in 2003.

Coach wall-mounted screens are particularly suitable for use when space is limited, such as on a metro train. CMKcan supply the 15 inch LCD screens with built-in CCTV, allowing the driver to monitor coach interiors.

Communication & Marketing Korea Inc, South Korea

CAPTION: Vultron International's 120mm four-character LCD clocks use VHF Radio Data Service broadcasts to receive a time signal in areas with poor long-wave reception such as subsurface stations and building interiors. Tuned to the strongest local radio signal, the clocks will search for other stations if reception problems occur. The RDSclocks have been installed at Cardiff Central and four stations in Birmingham.

Times without train describers

THE NEW station being built at Glasshoughton in West Yorkshire will have an automatic integrated station management and information system supplied by Transmitton, as subcontractor to station design consultants Scott Wilson.

Customer information displays, long-line public address, digital CCTV and help points will be remotely controlled by Transmitton's Cromos software package, running on Windows 2000.

Train mass detectors will provide the computer with accurate details on the location of trains. There are no train describer information sources in the area of the new station, and their installation purely for passenger information use would be prohibitively expensive.

At the station local computers will intelligently drive the display screens, eliminating the risk of a central server being a single point of failure and allowing the display to provide basic countdown information if communication links are lost.

Transmitton, UK

Passenger Information in Brief

The programmable onboard destination and information displays from Aesys have high-brightness yellow LEDs with 120í horizontal and 60í vertical viewing angles and 16 adjustable brightness levels.

Aesys, Italy

Mitron's 23 inch to 42 inch TFT displays are designed for use in demanding environments. Automatic heating and cooling ensures that the display operates well in all weathers, and the high contrast and brightness makes the text, graphics and videos visible in bright lighting conditions. The industrial PC controller uses Linux, DOS or Windows, with software updated by ethernet.

Mitron Oy, Finland

Optical filters can improve the readability of information displays under all lighting conditions, and PSC has developed a filter for use on AnsaldoBreda IC4 diesel trainsets for Danish State Railways.

PSC A/S, Denmark

Chiltern Railways is carrying out a three-month trial of Nomad, which provides Java-enabled mobile phones with access to train running information. Passengers will be charged a one-off fee of £0·10 to download timetables and a reader, and can then access information using low-cost GPRS, cheaper than WAP. Nomad is also in use in Adelaide, where it is being expanded to cover buses as well as trains.

Laborotech, Australia

Real-time data

JOURNEYSCREEN is a low-cost departure and arrival display control system which uses data produced for call centre and online journey planners.

Real-time information is distributed to screens at stations and stops using TCP/IP, avoiding the costs of custom-made and proprietary communications protocols. JourneyScreen runs on ordinary PCs with Microsoft Windows, and each computer can drive multiple screens of any type. Operators can design their own graphics for display, and the templates used for each station can be changed remotely.

JourneyPlan also offers technology to provide access to real-time multi-modal timetable, route and running information using SMS, WAP and mobile browsers.

JourneyPlan, UK

CAPTION: Motherwell station in Scotland has arrival and departure monitors fed with data by a wireless link. Eliminating the need for data cables makes installation of the screens quicker and more flexible than hardwiring, and avoids the costs of fixed infrastructure.

Real Wireless Solutions, UK

Swiss information

S-BAHN passengers in the Swiss city of Zug will be able to obtain information via the CUS information system developed for Swiss Federal Railways by Ascom.

An 'information backbone' supplied by Softlab Schweiz gathers data from the timetable database and from planning and control systems for central processing. It then feeds the display screens, websites, audio equipment and other outlets via a range of standard interfaces. Internet and SMS information has been available since March, and in April 2004 Aarburg-Oftringen became the first station to be connected to CUS. The Zug S-Bahn followed in October, and CUS will be rolled out to further locations over the next year.

Ascom, Switzerland

Talking signpost

BLIND and partially-sighted passengers can be assisted with the installation of Talking Signs.

A passenger scans the local environment with a hand-held infra-red receiver, which detects and converts into sound short repeating messages being broadcast by the signs identifying key features in the environment. Talking Signs are currently in service at a number of stations in Seattle and San Francisco, and a sign has been supplied for a station in Japan.

Talking Signs Inc, USA

Information in Brief

In November ProRail, NS, Telematica Institute and Sogeti began trialling the provision of location-specific real-time information to mobile phones.

ProRail, Netherlands

Wiener Linien has added descriptions of the city's tram and metro stations to its website to help blind and wheelchair passengers plan their journeys in advance.


The BrightEye 20 inch TFT display screen from Postfield Systems has a rugged housing for use in dirty and damp environments.

Postfield Systems, UK

KeTech uses a centrally-directed but locally-controlled distributed architecture for networks of information screens, linked by open standard data networks with low bandwidth requirements.

KeTech Systems, UK

After the passenger information display at Birmingham Snow Hill Station was struck by lightning, Central Trains installed a four-line, 21 character tricolour Messagemaker sign. These displays can be read from a wide angle, have serial and TCP/IP data links, and the power and data ports have lightning protection which should prevent future damage.

Massagemaker Displays, UK