The success and popularity of a wireless enabled mobile passenger information unit created for Paddington Station by display specialist Infotec has resulted in orders for a further 12 being placed.

Glasgow, Birmingham New Street and several other London stations are among the Network Rail major stations for which mobile displays have been ordered.

The mobile solution was 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 at Paddington informed while its £30m roof renovation project was completed.

Restoration of the section of Paddington station’s Edwardian roof that spans platforms 9 through to 12 has involved blasting and repairing all the steel structures, replacing glazing and re-covering the roof. Refurbishment of the platforms beneath the roof was also part of the project that started in January 2009.

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

“Infotec 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 were delighted.”

Completion of the roof replacement does not mean the mobile units are redundant. “We do have events that bring huge crowds through the station so we can use them for flashing up special notices,” Nick 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 was ratified by First Great Western’s Customer Panel. Its members visited the station after the mobiles were first deployed and the members mentioned the signs as something that they liked.