A ‘moving’ solution has been devised by Infotec, the company recognised as the market leader in the design, manufacture and supply of electronic displays to the UK rail industry, to keep customers in a major London station informed while a £30m roof renovation project is completed.

The section of Paddington station’s Edwardian roof that spans platforms nine through to 12 is being restored, with work involving blasting and repairing all the steel structures, replacing glazing and re-covering the roof.

Refurbishment of the platforms beneath the roof will also be part of the project that started in January this year and is due for completion in late 2010.

To enable scaffolding to be erected inside the station for the work, existing customer information displays on fixed frames had to be taken down. Aware of the role information systems play in minimising station congestion and keeping customers happy, station manager Nick Hartnell started to think about the best way of replacing them.

“I realised that if I put up fixed screens somewhere else, in time the scaffolding would move and I’d be faced with the same situation again.” Nick said.

“Then I remembered seeing a very basic mobile customer information display at Victoria and that got me thinking. I approached Infotec and they have developed a mobile unit for me that is absolutely superb.

Infotec has used the screens from the original fixed displays to create the mobile units which use their wireless transmission to receive data through an antenna. Infotec did everything including the risk assessment and we have got exactly what we needed. We are delighted.”

Thinking ahead, Nick has already identified what he will do with the mobile units when the roof replacement is complete.

“We do have events that bring huge crowds through the station so we can use them for flashing up special notices,” he said. “They’ll be far more effective than an old-fashioned poster that no-one takes any notice of!”

Nick’s satisfaction with the units has been ratified by First Great Western’s customer panel. Its members have paid a visit to the station since the mobiles have been deployed and the members mentioned the signs as something that they liked.

Infotec managing director, Tim Court, said: “Infotec prides itself on being able to find CIS solutions for any situation and this is what we have done for Paddington. We have minimised costs by reusing existing screens and employed our latest wireless technology to maintain efficient delivery of real time data transmission.

It is particularly pleasing that the station manager has already identified ways of using the mobile displays once the situation for which they have been developed returns to normal.”