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CPC’s innovative data mining shortlisted for National Rail Awards

21 September 2016

A new maintenance regime that has drastically reduced the down-time of London Underground’s Jubilee Line trains has been shortlisted for a National Rail Award. CPC Systems created a new way to interrogate and analyse data to predict when failures will occur, allowing pre-emptive maintenance to take place. 

CPC working alongside Jubilee Line engineers and technicians at the service’s depot, were employed to improve the reliability of the on-board signalling for the fleet. Our project manager Charlotte Hughes began interrogating some of the 15 terabytes of data that had been collected in the five years since the signalling system, transmission based train control (TBTC), was introduced to the Jubilee Line. By finding patterns in the data, and liaising with the Jubilee Line technicians to establish how the trains were actually performing, CPC was able to define symptoms or ‘footprints’ that predicted failures.

Switching to a pattern of preventative maintenance, rather than reactive maintenance where faults were fixed as they occurred, required culture change and time. But once the team saw the predictions coming true, everyone was motivated to start doing things differently.

“It’s exciting to have introduced an innovation that has flipped the way we do maintenance on its head,” says Charlotte. “Maybe people were a bit sceptical at first, but now they have really embraced it and learnt how they can use the data to make improvements themselves.”

CPC Systems engineers have created programmes that automatically mine the data and flag up new trends and patterns so that other elements of the service can be approved. As well as the reduction in down-time, the data has helped improve the way trains travel into sidings, speed out of the depot and provided more accurate information about train behaviour over different sections of track. One surprise finding is that some components are best left undisturbed because planned maintenance can actually cause failures in some cases.

“I believe we’ve only scratched the surface regarding the capabilities of this new system,” says London Underground’s head of fleet for the Jubilee and Northern Lines Anthony Gisbourne. The regime has already been employed additionally on the Northern Line, following its success on the Jubilee Line.

CPC and London Underground are shortlisted in the Maintenance Team of the Year category at this year’s National Rail Awards, to be held at the Grosvenor, 22 September 2016

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