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Alstom Transport Ltd

Mining of TMS data from Virgin West Coast trains

Business Challenge

Modern trains like the Pendelinos used on the West Coast Line use extensive computer logging of data about the train's operational state. These records are made at intervals of as little as a fraction of a second and each train can generate millions of records each week. The data is handled by a Train Management System (TMS) and consists of logs of each event during a journey. In addition to the type of event, the record contains many details of the operational state of the train at the time of each event.

Alstom was interested in ascertaining if data mining could be used to identify patterns in the TMS data that would indicate systemic operating faults as well as prediction of imminent faults on an individual train. The former would be used to inform the maintenance schedule whilst the latter would allow very expensive train failures to be avoided. The success of the approach relies on the development of a tailor made data mining software tool that could be used by Alstom technical staff.

Our Solution

Following successful extraction of patterns from the data, SYS Consulting experts Dr Graham Tattersall and Dr George Smith developed a statistical analysis tool that, even with the enormous data files generated by TMS, allows events and anomalies to be rapidly identified. Key features of the software are its ability to automatically generate an English Language summary of a statistical rule that describes the operating conditions relevant to a particular type of event. The system can also present 'snap-shot' and temporal patterns of multi-dimensional event conditions in the form of a graphical display that highlights particular operating problems. The software also made use of the GPS data available to present a geographical distribution of events.

Business Outcome

Alstom Transport technical staff were trained to use the software as part of routine maintenance operations.

More Detail

For further information download the full Alstom Transport: Data mining of TMS data from Virgin West Coast trains Case Study.