• Communication at BVR steams in to 21st Century

Communication at BVR steams in to 21st Century

Steam technology gets a 21st century touch as Panasonic communication systems are installed in Norfolk's steam train tourist attraction, Bure Valley Railway.

Communications at Bure Valley Railway, Norfolk's very own steam railway service, have gone distinctly 21st century, thanks to the installation of a DECT communications system by Panasonic Focus Dealer, Eastern Voice & Data.

Situated deep in the Norfolk countryside, Bure Valley Railway is a key tourist attraction, being Norfolk's longest fifteen inch gauge line, running an 18 mile round trip between Aylsham and Wroxham.

The railway takes up to an impressive 1500 passengers on its lines a day, and good internal communication is essential for the tourist attraction to run smoothly and provide quality customer service for tourists who come from cross the country to sample the stunning scenery.

"Customer service is vital in the tourist industry and from the first conversation with Bure Valley Railway, we recognised that this was a driver for a new communication system." said Russell Marriott, Managing Director of Eastern
Voice & Data, a Panasonic Focus Dealer.

"Previously there was no communication with other staff on trackside. What we've managed to do is provide them with full communication for all staff on trackside which means they can provide a better service to their customers." Marriott continued.

A key benefit of the system is that it has achieved staff mobility for Bure Valley Railway. From senior management to train engineers, all staff can be reached via mobile handsets or desk handsets. Calls can be answered and transferred to relevant personnel efficiently, cutting down the number of call backs. The staff interconnection also means that staff can be quickly located across the premises to increase the site's operational efficiency.

Bure Valley Railway's Train Guard, Kenneth Murrell, can be anywhere in the station whilst always being in contact with the shop and other staff by carrying his weatherproof, ruggedised DECT handset; this was previously unachievable with the fixed platform phone.

"The phone system is vital for us"

Murrell said, "It's a lot better than the old platform phone because obviously we were restricted to its fixed position, whereas now we can be anywhere on the platform; the shop can contact us and we can contact the shop, so it makes it a lot easier".

In the shop, Business Manager, Susan Munday needs to frequently communicate with the Train Guard about availability of seats for customers. Commenting on the phone system, she said, "You're alone here in the shop and
you can't actually leave your post, so the phone system is vital for us".

Communication with the customers themselves has also been helped by the Panasonic system. When the trains arrive at the stations, the ruggedised DECT handsets are used to  access the PA system in order to announce the arrival of the train.

Using IP technology has enabled the far signal box, some 15 miles away in Wroxham to be connected to the main site system using a virtual private network. This has made communication with the signal box easier and demonstrates how IP technology can be employed to connect telephones installed anywhere. The move to SIP has enabled Bure Valley Railway to dispense with telephone lines that were no longer required, ultimately giving a more cost-effective solution.

Andrew Barnes, Director and General Manager of Bure Valley Railway praised the Panasonic system and service from Eastern Voice & Data, saying, "To partner with us and to understand our needs and provide a functional working
solution was exactly what we were after, bravo Panasonic"

Kit List
KXNCP1000UK OneNet - connected to SIP Trunks
VPN Extension to remote signal box: KXNT551
KXDT543 Desk Handsets
KXTDA0156CE DECT Base Stations
KXTCA185 DECT Handsets
KXTCA385 Ruggedised DECT Handsets
TVM50  Auto Attendant/Voicemail: Unified Messaging
Connection to third party PA system (TOA)