ScotRail’s commitments to provide the best possible services and facilities to its customers have included a significant investment in the maintenance and refurbishment of stations all over Scotland. Part of that responsibility is to make sure that railway property, as well as customers and staff, are kept secure. In particular, ScotRail has a zero tolerance policy toward assaults and abuse against staff, and has a wide range of measures to handle such incidents. One of these is the station security systems, providing personal attack alarms in addition to protecting railway property against unlawful intruders.
The existing security system used a direct line alarm communications system to signal back to the control room at ScotRail’s customer service centre in Paisley, which includes CCTV monitoring. When ScotRail decided to upgrade the alarm system, they turned to integrated systems provider, Bold Communications, to deliver the best possible technology solution. Amongst the key essentials to consider was signalling speed, reliability and ease of use in the control room.
Following a thorough going review of the client’s requirements, a total integrated solution was proposed comprising BoldNet IP alarm signalling and Bold Gemini security monitoring software. BoldNet is a compact alarm signalling device which operates over a private IP network or public ADSL broadband. The solution provides high security communications, with configurable polling and AES data encryption.
One of the challenges for handling dispersed alarms from a wide range of different alarm panels was to find a signalling device that would work effectively with all the legacy estate. BoldNet provided the solution for this challenge, working seamlessly with the existing on site equipment and providing the option of dial capture or pin outputs. A program of upgrades with Galaxy panels is now going ahead which will, again, utilise BoldNet for alarm signalling. Size and power consumption also had to be considered which was not a problem for the BoldNet device, being easily accommodated within the panel housing.
Regular polling of the connection to site means that, in the event of communications failure, the control room is notified and an immediate response provided. Compliance with new European standards, such as being able to perform one annual maintenance visit with a remote system check is also supported. BoldNet supports extended signalling formats, becoming an increasingly common requirement, as well as the Fast Format protocol. The product is suitable for Class 2, Grade 2/3 installations.
Despite proving to be a highly effective alarm signalling solution, BoldNet is not high cost and, because it is communicating directly from site to the alarm receiving centre, there is no managed service or other annually recurring costs to budget for.
At the ScotRail customer service centre, signalling is managed by the Gemini monitoring platform. Gemini automates and filters incoming events and leads the operator through a simple alarm handling process, providing all the information required to respond to any event with a single click. All alarm signals, operator actions and changes to account records are logged in Gemini, with customised reporting and scheduling provided as standard.
Andy Kinloch, ScotRail Project Manager, commented, “We considered a number of solutions when it came to upgrading the security systems at the stations, selecting Bold as they are specialists in this area and we have worked with them in the past. “