Network Rail, the leading player in the UK rail industry, faced the formidable challenge of managing complex shift patterns, multi-location schedules, and fatigue tracking for their track staff and machine operators. They needed a versatile solution that could streamline their rostering process, while also ensuring compliance and tracking travel time efficiently. Enter Signal, the ultimate workforce management solution, which seamlessly integrated into Network Rail's operations.

The Challenge

Network Rail set forth specific requirements for their rostering software, aiming to achieve several key directives:

  • Flexible Employee Contracts: The need to manage flexible employee contracts, including 140 hours over a 4-week period and 455 hours over a 13-week period.
  • Rostered Hours: The ability to roster an average of a 40-hour week for all hours scheduled above the baseline.
  • Travel Time: The ability to roster up to an hour's travel at the start and end of shifts, which, while unpaid, needed to be factored in for fatigue management.
  • Travel Shift Planning: The capability to plan travel shifts efficiently.
  • Base Roster Requirements: The need to upload base roster requirements with the flexibility to add working details later in line with the contracts.
  • Fatigue Monitoring: Ensuring comprehensive fatigue monitoring in real-time.
  • Shift Import: The ability to import shifts seamlessly from internal systems.

Key Solution Features

Signal proved to be the perfect fit for Network Rail's complex requirements. The solution came equipped with the following features:

  • Travel Time & Working Time: Signal calculates door-to-door time from workers' home locations to the trackside, accommodating other accommodation addresses and hotels as needed. Stabling points were also integrated to cater to track machine operators and drivers.
  • Intelligent Shift Import: Signal learns from previous import files, allowing for the rapid creation of extensive shift lists. Shifts can be imported from tables in emails or from existing systems.
  • Compliance Notifications: Reduce compliance risks and meet industry requirements instantly with Signal's compliance notifications.
  • Real-Time Fatigue: Signal automatically calculates fatigue in real-time for both planned and actual hours, instantly alerting management and workers.
  • Actual Start & Finish Times: Capture actual finish times from workers via mobile, GPS, or manual entry, with the capability to export actual data directly from timesheets to payroll.
  • Dashboard & Statistics: Measure all aspects of worker activity, including working time exceedances, hours worked by duty type, fatigue and risk assessment, unfilled shifts, and door-to-door time. Run reports on demand within a given date range or schedule them automatically to relevant personnel.

The Result

The implementation of Signal brought about significant improvements for Network Rail:

  • Automatic Roster Generation: Signal's automation saved a remarkable 200 hours per week, streamlining the rostering process significantly.
  • Contract and Pay Rate Management: Easily maintain worker contracts and pay rates, ensuring accuracy and compliance.
  • Fleet Management: Effectively manage a fleet of machines for scheduling purposes.
  • Efficient Travel Time and Fatigue Tracking: Automatically track travel time and monitor fatigue to enhance safety.
  • Seamless Shift Import: Automate the import of shift requests from site and existing systems, reducing manual effort.
  • Collaboration and Mobile Access: Share shifts and collaborate with colleagues efficiently. Display shifts on workers' mobile devices for convenience.
  • Timesheet Automation: Automate and digitise the timesheet process, reducing paperwork and manual data entry.
  • Hotel Booking Management: Handle flexible and last-minute hotel bookings seamlessly.
  • Advanced Planning: Plan a base roster up to 13 weeks in advance, enhancing long-term workforce management.
  • Custom Reporting: Provide flexible reporting options tailored to Network Rail's specific needs.

Signal was successfully integrated with Network Rail's existing shift requisition software, automating the creation of blank shifts in Signal. Additionally, a custom competency group was created within Signal to manage machine operator competencies not covered by Sentinel. Complex pay rates were incorporated, allowing for automatic cost calculations during scheduling. Signal's custom shift pattern creator was used to accommodate various shift patterns, including book-on time, stabling points, shift start, shift end, stabling point, and book-off shifts.


The integration of Signal into Network Rail's operations has not only streamlined shift management but also significantly improved efficiency, compliance, and fatigue monitoring. By leveraging Signal's versatile features, Network Rail has successfully met their complex rostering requirements, resulting in substantial time savings and enhanced workforce management.

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