In the spring, a survey project guided by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (LVM) was started which studies the future train control in Finland extensively. The decision was made right at the beginning to also discuss the traffic control systems and the implementation of ERTMS, or the European railway traffic control system, with an open mind as well as the opportunities for digitalisation in our country. This resulted in the Digirail project.
The schedule is ambitious but realistic.
The project group was specified in May-June, and the work was full in progress at the beginning of August. The objective for 2019 is to complete basically all survey work and reporting. The materials will be processed further at the beginning of next year, and the final report and proposed actions will be delivered to the steering group and LVM in March 2020. A decision about the future can be made based on it.
Benefits in sight for Finland and the environment
Digirail is not a mere administrative exercise. Instead, it provides the prerequisites to impact the competitiveness of all railway traffic, the environment, better services and daily life of Finnish passengers. The digitalisation of actions and processes plays a significant role here.
Cost-efficiency can be found by, for example, optimising the timing of rolling stock investments and increasing the operational capacity by as much as 20% in the city lines of southern Finland and the main line. This also creates a positive environmental impact and opportunities to save energy. The punctuality, reliability and safety of rail traffic are also improved even further.
The entire railway sector involved
Project work is conducted on a wide front simultaneously The Digirail forum monitors the survey work, communicates information and provides an impact opportunity for all interested actors in the sector. The steering group consists of LVM, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, Finrail/TMFG, VR and HSL, and it is tasked with making the strategic-level decisions and setting the objectives. The project office is in charge of operational activity. The participants are railway sector actors under the guidance of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency and Finrail.
A so-called reference group has been established to spar with each other regarding the work.
It provides comprehensive support for the project, spars open-minded thinking and brings out different alternatives. The project actors also manage the risk and survey opportunities together.
Agile alliance-type tools
Keeping a multi-lane project covering lots of cooperation partners in check requires a lot from project management. The tools used include, for example, Last Planner scheduling, obstacle log and many other tools familiar from alliance-type working.
The project is controlled and the progress is monitored in result presentations every eight weeks.The following eight-week period is also planned in the presentations. Between these intervals, status reviews take place every two weeks. All the tasks are controlled using the project office tools which support co-working.
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Jari Pylvänäinen, Finrail Ltd
Juha Lehtola, Väylä, The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency