Change is coming to the UK rail sector as it prepares for the biggest technological shake-up since the industrial revolution.

With its Digital Railway Programme, Network Rail will roll-out digital solutions and new technologies such as digital signalling and train control, in order to deliver more trains, better connections, and greater reliability.  

And it’s not just the rail system’s infrastructure that is set to change.

Next year, Network Rail will introduce its next generation RailHub as part of the P4D Programme, designed to reduce close-calls, near-misses, accidents and fatalities on the railways. This will make the UK’s rail access planning processes 100% digital, leading to big changes in the existing track access and Safe System of Work planning processes.

Based on the 019 standard, RailHub is already used by most of Network Rail’s supply chain to manage and report on the Safe System of Work planning process to the very latest compliance standards. Allowing rail workers to access schematics on demand, monitor work sites, and carry out digital sign offs, RailHub will help ensure work being carried out on or near the line is done so safely and productively.

As well as keeping the workforce safe and reducing the level of risk for those working on or near the tracks, eliminating paper processes will save a significant amount of time and resources, ultimately reducing costs. In addition to this, data can be collected and stored safely, and analysed more efficiently.

So what does this mean for suppliers in the UK rail industry?

It’s clear that the rail industry is changing. And, as Network Rail fully embraces digitisation, their suppliers will need to do the same if they want to stay competitive.

From timesheets and incident reporting, through to briefings and resource management, digitising paper-based processes will be the key to future success – reducing costs, saving lives, and providing the invaluable business intelligence. Working with paper-based forms and wet signatures simply won’t cut it in the industry anymore, the future is digital.

Of course, many businesses may be reluctant to make the switch to digital processes, fearing that building apps is costly, time consuming, and incredibly complex. And the truth is, it can be. But Nutshell offers an alternative.

Nutshell is a state-of-the-art no-code platform that will enable companies working within the rail sector to build their own apps to digitise their processes. So you can enhance your processes through technology, at just fraction of the cost and lead time of traditional app building approaches.

Want to know more?

Take a look at our Insights page to find out more about the changes coming to rail!