For 8 years, Sii Poland has been supporting railway companies in the production of software and devices improving the safety of millions of passengers around the world. One of the solutions made for Alstom – a global leader in the rail industry – is a tool for installing a system of axle counters that provide key information enabling collision-free rail movement.
With 100 000 trains all over the world, Alstom is constantly investing in sustainable mobility and digital technologies. Safety systems, alternative drive systems or high-performance signaling technology are just some of the projects that increase passenger safety.
One of the joint goals of Alstom and Sii Poland was to create an Application Generator (GA) for the installation of the axle counter system in the railway infrastructure. Their task is to guarantee collision-free rail movement by determining the condition of track, turnout points and dump track segments and passing the information to traffic control systems.
– Work on the Application Generator started with meetings with experts from Alstom. As a result, we were able to get to know the needs of the client well. Our task was to create software thanks to which most of the data will be generated automatically and the process of inputting elements will be based on using the convenient drag and drop method. The application was to provide advanced functionalities and, at the same time, be easy to use – says Arkadiusz Stankiewicz, Team Leader at Sii Poland.
As part of creating the Application Generator, Sii experts not only designed the user interface but also programmed the logic of installing axle counters on tracks and choosing sections (zones controlled by axle counters). GA is a tool that allows building complex railway applications – defining relations and dependencies between them.
– Axle counters play a key role in railway control. It is thanks to them that we know when a given part of the track is free and another rail vehicle can safely drive onto it – says Adam Szczeponik, Product Manager responsible for the Axle Counter System. – I am very satisfied with the way Sii worked on this project. Thanks to the adopted methodology, in the case of which meetings with the team and cooperation were the most important, with requirements analyzed and problems appearing during the implementation resolved on a current basis, the created product meets our expectations – he adds.
The Application Generator was written in C# using Visual Studio 2017. The Sii team that worked on the solution consisted of two developers, a tester, a UX designer, a scrum master and a project coordinator.
– I’ve been developing apps for the rail sector for a few years. This time we were given the opportunity to create a complete turnkey solution, which made my work even more demanding. I think that the biggest challenge was to develop the part of the application that checks the correctness of the designer’s work, according to the logic of the system and the rules of rail traffic control – says Anna Janiczek, .NET Developer at Sii Poland.
But this is not the end of the works on this solution. – We still have some work to do before the tool is ready for use – says Adam Szczeponik. – According to current CENELEC standards, a validation process is required for a tool of this type. The key issue here is the availability of documentation, including the list of requirements, test specifications and a test report. Using the Agile project management method, with requirements as user stories and software documentation in the form of a commented out code, is not fully in accordance with processes that apply in the case of safety systems. However, I am convinced that thanks to the support of the Sii project team we will be able to successfully complete the last phase – adds the expert from Alstom.
For many years, Sii Poland has been building teams of specialists for the railway projects of companies from Poland and abroad. Among the solutions that were created is a simulator of rail traffic across Europe, which helps test changes in the driving parameters of rail vehicles. Sii experts were also involved in the implementation of a diagnostic system for the New York City subway and the development of a solution for the Dutch lines, meeting the strictest criteria related to traffic safety – Safety Integrity Level – SIL4.
To find out more about Sii Poland’s solutions for the rail industry, contact us.