DAC NYL Case Study

Download the DAC NYL Case Study (PDF)

Industry Sector: Transportation – Railways
Geography: Anglia, United Kingdom
Service Solution: Level Crossings without Cabled Infrastructure
Project: NYL – Norwich, Yarmouth, Lowestoft
Strategic Partners: Network Rail, Atkins, DAC Limited 


Network Rail is the not for dividend owner and operator of the majority of Britain’s railway infrastructure, which includes the tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, level crossings and is also one of the largest land and property owners in the UK.

In a joint organisational approach Atkins, part of the SNC-Lavalin Group, were appointed signalling and civil engineering contractor and designs integrator, managing a host of supporting contractors and suppliers, including DAC Limited, with Network Rail being responsible for telecommunications teams.


Level Crossings: Many UWCs are situated in remote locations with the only means of connectivity coming via degraded cable making connectivity impossible and expensive to replace.

At the start of the scheme there were over seventy level crossings, including user-worked crossings (UWCs), Sotera was contracted to carry out risk assessments to determine the level of protection needed and which crossings needed upgrading.

Sotera has developed a risk assessment tool for the assessment of SPAD (Signal Passed at Danger) risk and an optioneering framework to consider risk reducing options to help ensure risk is reduced to an appropriate level by accounting for the features of the signal, crossing operation and local factors. Several near-misses and a serious collision at Thetford have focussed attention on improving safety at UWCs. One key difficulty for signallers is knowing where a train is in a long block section and judging whether a level-crossing user calling in has sufficient time to cross safely.

It was determined that 37 Level Crossings at locations throughout NYL required a non-cabled connectivity solution. Due to the nature of the immediate environment and with many of these crossings being located in remote locations this further complicated possible connectivity options.


DAC limited logo

GSM-R telephones for UWCs:

In an innovative development DAC who have worked with Network Rail for over a decade developing GSM-R crossing/trackside telephones were asked to further develop this product to be able to function in the proposed NYL environments. In response a solar-powered standalone solution that would work in remote locations without the need for cabled infrastructure was created, described by Network Rail as ‘solar-powered radio phones using mobile technology.’

DAC GSM-R standalone telephone with solar panel
RA708-CB-Y-S-GSMR Standalone Telephone

The DAC GSM-R Standalone solution:

  • Solar powered
  • Standard interface
  • Robust construction
  • Easy installation
  • No cables, no power, no problem!
  • Ring mimic
  • Remote telephone health monitoring


  • The cost of cabling for the 37 crossings alone would have been in the region of £6 million. The deployment of 77 DAC Standalone GSM-R telephones brought savings of 97%.
  • The use of solar power helps towards Network rails target of reducing carbon emissions by 25% in CP6.
  • In anticipation of BT plans to remove copper cable by 2026! DAC have delivered a valid alternative that is not reliant on third party involvement or maintenance!
  • Mitigates the risk from cable theft which contributes 4305 delay minutes on the east coast alone
  • DAC’s Remote condition monitoring: in coherence with a Network Rail initiative -Removed the need for periodic site visits to check if phones were functional, saving hundreds of man hours and vehicle miles further reducing carbon emissions.
Source: https://www.networkrailconsulting.com/service/remote-condition-monitoring/

Intelligent Infrastructure: is Network Rail’s (NR) transformation programme for remote condition monitoring of rail infrastructure. Using a strategic approach to technology, information management and business process to deliver benefits in performance and long term asset management.

Source: https://www.networkrailconsulting.com/service/remote-condition-monitoring/

To date we (NR) have more than 12,000 assets live on the Intelligent Infrastructure system (points, track circuits, signal power supplies). The benefits so far have been 153,000 delay minutes avoided saving c£4.66m, with benefits expected to rise to c£14m per annum.


  • a further 23,000 assets to be added to the intelligent infrastructure systems covering track circuits and points heating fitments
  • address the gap to target benefits delivery through a programme of business change covering people, process, technology and sharing of best practice across route
  • remote condition monitoring to be rolled out across other assets
  • Total annual benefits rising to £14m from 2014 onwards.

Statement from the ORR:

Level crossings create the potential for serious train accidents because of the risk of collision with a road vehicle. Crossings account for nearly half of the estimated catastrophic train accident risk on Britain’s railways. We believe that the safe design, management and operation of level crossings can reduce risks, have a positive effect on the behaviour of crossing users and reduce the number of fatal and serious incidents.