EAS­ING STRAIN

Trac­sis’ soft­ware could hold an­swers to the mis­ery on the rail net­work

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE - ROS SNOW­DON CITY ED­I­TOR Email: ros.snow­don@ypn.co.uk Twit­ter: @RosSnow­donYPN

ON A day of mis­ery for train pas­sen­gers fol­low­ing mul­ti­ple train strikes, Trac­sis said its trans­port soft­ware could help solve the prob­lems of train de­lays, over­crowd­ing and de­rail­ments.

The Leeds-based group said that ever in­creas­ing de­mand means ca­pac­ity needs to grow and it will al­ways be a prob­lem.

Trac­sis chief ex­ec­u­tive John McArthur said: “We help train com­pa­nies with their de­lays. We help op­er­a­tors with timeta­bles and fleet man­age­ment.

“Train ser­vices are not as good as they should be. We try and help op­er­a­tors with their prob­lems. The prob­lems pas­sen­gers face are ac­tu­ally a good thing for Trac­sis.”

He was speak­ing as the firm re­ported a big jump in an­nual prof­its. Trac­sis said it had seen a year of progress, con­sol­i­da­tion and growth fol­low­ing the ac­qui­si­tions of SEP and Ontrac, which have sub­stan­tially in­creased the group’s client base.

Rev­enue rose 6 per cent to £34.5m in the year to July 31 and pre-tax profit rose 14 per cent to £4.6m.

Mr McArthur said that part of the prob­lem fac­ing train op­er­at­ing com­pa­nies is fi­nite ca­pac­ity and grow­ing de­mand.

“Trac­sis’s ser­vices are about squeez­ing more out of the cur­rent net­work,” he said.

“You can’t just lay down new tracks willy nilly.”

He said that the Govern­ment wants the in­fra­struc­ture to be much more closely aligned to train op­er­at­ing com­pa­nies.

“From a pas­sen­ger point of view it is slightly per­plex­ing that the net­work is al­most at log­ger­heads with the train op­er­at­ing com­pa­nies,” he said.

“There is a strong ar­gu­ment that they should work more closely to­gether and not have a bun fight over train de­lays. We pro­vide the tools that aid col­lab­o­ra­tion.

“We pro­vide sys­tems for shar­ing the in­for­ma­tion to cre­ate one ver­sion of the truth. It’s a very niche mar­ket.” Trac­sis of­fers train com­pa­nies re­mote con­di­tion mon­i­tor­ing with 15,000 data log­gers that mon­i­tor crit­i­cal as­sets such as points.

“The in­for­ma­tion can pre­dict fail­ures,” said Mr McArthur.

“The idea is you can fix things be­fore they fail. We can pre­dict that a point may fail in a week’s time so it can be fixed at mid­night be­fore then. We can also pre­dict de­mand for ser­vices.”

He said that there is a lot of in­for­ma­tion that isn’t used by train op­er­a­tors that Trac­sis can har­ness to pre­dict fu­ture fail­ures and cus­tomer de­mand.

With bookmakers short­en­ing the odds on a Gen­eral Elec­tion next year and Jeremy Cor­byn lead­ing Labour to power, Mr McArthur said he wasn’t wor­ried about Mr Cor­byn’s plans to re- na­tion­alise Bri­tain’s rail­ways. “I would have thought a move to in­vest­ment and a strength­en­ing of unions would be a good thing for Trac­sis,” he said.

In a re­search note en­ti­tled ‘All sig­nals show­ing green’, In­vestec an­a­lyst Roger Phillips said: “Trac­sis re­sults are 4 to 5 per cent ahead on key met­rics and we sus­pect the year has started well.

“We leave fore­casts un­changed, but note up­side po­ten­tial in due course.

“The sources of this are var­ied, from large soft­ware wins, to an im­prov­ing spend en­vi­ron­ment in re­mote con­di­tion mon­i­tor­ing and mar­gin up­side in Traf­fic & Data Ser­vices.

“When aug­mented by likely M&A, earn­ings per share two or three years out could end up be­ing con­sid­er­ably higher than cur­rent fore­casts. Trac­sis is a core pick for us.”

Trac­sis said it has de­liv­ered a good fi­nan­cial re­sult set against a back­drop of sub­stan­tial in­dus­try change within the rail sec­tor.

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