UK-based Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has started to use new Siemens Mobility technology to track the number of passengers on the trains amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The technology is also compatible with service operation and timetables planning to ensure social distancing on the trains, in accordance with the government’s advice.

The technology uses the train loading data based on weight and is employed on the Class 700 Thameslink and Class 717 Great Northern Moorgate trains.

It gathers data that is fed to the Cloud-based Advanced Passenger Loading reporting to provide immediate information and offers the ability to analyse the information.

The solution can be used by GTR to track the number of passengers who board and deboard the trains at each station and monitor the demand.

With this, the operator can review the timetable, lengthen trains or add additional services based on the data.

Siemens Mobility Rolling Stock and Customer Service MD Sambit Banerjee said: “By helping GTR to monitor social distancing using up to the minute data, our innovative technology is playing a crucial role in keeping passengers safe.

“Given the current – and very unique – challenges the industry is facing, it is fantastic that the team was able to adapt and develop a solution in just 14 days. We believe this tool holds the transformational potential for other railway operating companies looking to conduct their services safely and are looking at how this technology can be rolled out on other trains.”

GTR COO Steve White said: “This tool helps us monitor and support social distancing. Our partners at Siemens Mobility have delivered this innovative technology in record time. It provides our control and train planning teams with precise data and insight into the usage of our Thameslink and Great Northern metro services, so they can make scheduling and timetabling decisions.

“While the technology was accelerated into use as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the tool has proved so effective that it will continue to be a permanent feature in helping us to manage our railway network going forward.”

Last month, GTR used a powerful new virucide to kill Covid-19 for up to 30 days.