Innovation needed to deliver future passenger services

An innovative approach is needed to deliver the future high-speed railway for the benefit of passengers, said the Managing Director of West Coast Partnership Development.


Addressing an audience of experts at the Rail Industry Association’s Innovation Conference, Caroline Donaldson laid out some key challenges for the industry to consider. These include better customer information, improving onboard services and enabling independent and integrated travel for disabled customers.


Here is an excerpt from Caroline’s speech:


HS2 will be a dynamic railway with many trains per hour, this means passengers need to be confident of finding the right time and place to board their train. We know that clear communication and wayfinding, including finding facilities such as toilets or catering, will be key to a calm and enjoyable experience.


Another challenge is how we reimagine the high speed travel experience. Journey times between our big cities will shrink - London to Birmingham will be just 40 minutes. We need to rethink the on-board experience, including how personal contact with passengers happens, or how we provide food and drink that’s attractive. We expect technology innovation to not only help deliver these services, but to help predict changing customer needs as well.


West Coast Partnership is committed to an inclusive railway that enables independent and integrated travel for all – our ambition is to raise the bar for accessibility. Experience from Trenitalia, running high speed services in Italy, is that we need to make it as easy as possible for people to get to our stations using greener travel options. Challenges we are exploring include multi-modal collaboration, and how technology can enable an integrated end to end journey for everyone.


We don’t have all the answers yet, and we’re not trying to work it out alone. We’re on a journey and we want to innovate, to test and learn, to grow, and stay ahead of the curve. Because getting it right for passengers means we need to work in partnership, get broad and expert insight to define the best solutions. We need and want your help to get this right. So, it’s a call to arms. If there are any areas where you think you can help, get in touch (