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          The Hitachi Group in Europe comprises the European operations of Hitachi Group. With 146 legal entities and approximately 20,000 employees. Hitachi in Europe is committed to improving society through the development of technology.
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        • Bradford on Avon
          Solstice House
          Middleton Drive, Bradford on Avon
          BA15 1GB, UK
          +44 (0) 1225 860 140
        • Plymouth
          Building 2, Brooklands
          Budshead Road, Plymouth
          PL6 5XR, UK+44 (0) 1225 860 140
        • Derby
          Railway Technical Centre
          DE24 8UP, UK

Railway Design Tools

Intelligent signalling design tools andd solutions are critical to the success of any rail infrastructure project


In response to the rail industry’s growing need for intelligent design tools, Hitachi has a range of solutions to support the signalling design process. With a focus on reducing costs through greater efficiencies, these solutions make planning work more effective and streamlined.
The industry needs a new approach to signalling design if SEU cost reduction is to be achieved and Hitachi is leading the way with Sketch. Unlike other CAD based design tools Sketch has an underlying railway model which enables early-stage design options to be considered and validated in a single tool. As a design progresses, so the identification of problems can be analysed, and changes made as necessary.

Having designed a new scheme or made changes to an existing layout simulation can then be used to fully validate the design. This enables better visualisation of the results and changes that may be needed to obtain optimum performance.
  • Automatic drawing validation allowing users to check for basic errors and omissions
  • Output SDEF data for analysis tools Headway Analysis Tool (HAT) and signal spacing model (SSpaM)
  • Intuitive and interactive interface
  • Colour coded Timeframes to display stage works in a single sketch
  • Export sketches as JPG images
HICSE animation


Close integration of design and simulation from the start of a project both simplifies and accelerates the design cycle - automated design validation ensures errors or omissions can be identified and rectified early, reducing the amount of expensive re-work at later stages.


Digital models of proposed infrastructure, driven by data directly from the design process into which real system components can be integrated and tested without the need to access the trackside or interfere with the regular operation of the railway:

  • testing and validation phase is significantly shortened
  • commissioning times are reduced
  • system reliability is maximised from day one of operation


Signaller training, competence and workload assessments can all be completed prior to final scheme commissioning. Proposed future change in the physical world – such as an alteration to the speed and frequency of trains – can be modelled to test the ripple effect and the impact on asset condition and performance:

  • link to maintenance programmes
  • support and inform future investment strategies
  • include environmental factors such as carbon implications in different options to support the sustainability agenda
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