Timetabling and the concept of trains running on time is perhaps a British obsession. When the railways rose to prominence during the nineteenth century, train scheduling and timetables became an essential part of life. So much so, the first national timescale was developed, known as Railway Time, which eventually became Greenwich Meantime.
Keeping railway customers informed about delays and scheduled changes is a challenging task. Public address systems have traditionally been the communication system of choice with the familiar announcer calls a common sound in most railway stations.
LCD screens provide railway and station operators an ideal platform for keeping customers informed and displaying timetable information, news of delays and scheduling changes.
The great advantage of using a screen network around a railway station or platform is the immediacy. As soon as the station hears of train delays, this information can be uploaded to the screens for the customers to see.
This immediacy drastically reduces the number of complaints from disgruntled passengers, as customers can see for themselves, how long the delay is and when the train is now due to arrive, rather than standing around not knowing what is going on.
Traditionally, information screens were only ever placed inside the station itself, or on platforms on larger, central railway stations; however, increasingly, due to the falling cost of delivering information screens, more and more smaller stations are implementing them too.
Part of the challenge and costs of implementing information screens on railway platforms comes in protecting them. Many rail operators are now turning to LCD enclosures as a means of protection for their information screens as they enable the use of standard LCD TV hardware.
While most platform information screens are under cover, there is still a need for protection as rain and other elements get blown onto the display. Furthermore, without temperature control, the heat of summer or sub zero temperatures of winter could lead to the display failing. Another advantage that many railways stations have found using the LCD enclosure system is that when the screens eventual expire—as all screens will—they are easy and cheap to replace and install in the same enclosure, as opposed to buying specific outdoor hardware that will only last the same amount of time.