Efficient use of OTDR data to manage incidents

We have created a bespoke training course on On-Train Data or Monitoring Recorder (OTDR) for operational driver managers of TOCs and FOCs.

The On-Train Data or Monitoring Recorder OTDR is basically the black box of the train, recording data from all aspects of activity taking place on the train, from speed, button presses and times to engineering activities.

The use of the OTDR for assessment and investigation purposes has been ingrained in the railway, but it was apparent that no formal training was being provided to driver managers, and the only training provided had an engineering perspective.  AssessTech created a bespoke training course for operational driver managers of TOCs and FOCs to interrogate the data which is invaluable for assessments and investigating incidents.

The first customers who utilised the course were Arriva Rail London and Great Western Railway (GWR).

David Brock demonstrating how to read a download at the User Forum 2022. 

Delivered by Learning and Development Consultant David Brock, the course identified early on that there were 607 bits of information generated through the OTDR, half of which were irrelevant.

David worked with the driver managers to utilise the Hasler EVA+ and Arrowvale software to extract the relevant information for assessments and incident management for Arriva Rail.

The course involved;

  • Overview on how to extract the data, load it into the platform and focus on the data that was the most relevant.
  • Detailed insights into how to evaluate the data.
  • Helping candidates identify the most important elements to analyse.
  • Providing insights into how to annotate the data so others could read it.

Candidates attending the course benefitted from;

  • Increased speed in which an OTDR analysis can be performed, saving time for driver managers.
  • Increased standardisation across the business.
  • Improved confidence in the quality of the data.
  • Improved assessments and helped inform feedback.

David Brock said, “Everyone who attends the course leaves with a new tip and a new way of analysing the train’s journey.”

Prior to attending the course, I felt I had a good understanding of OTDR.  This training course was excellent as it explained the programme and the Hasler Eva software in detail which meant I could make much more efficient use of the software.  David was an excellent trainer, pleasant, approachable, and extremely knowledgeable and he provided a wealth of tips and advice which have been invaluable in my job.   

Brendan Bailey

Driver Competence Specialist, Great Western Railway