The system is composed of several components and in recent years has become an indispensable part of the railroad system. Whereas rail companies in other countries dream of uniform signaling and operation of their rail network, in the Netherlands with PRL this has been a reality for more than two decades.
The result: an indispensable information system for dispatchers.
PRL can be found at the 13 traffic control stations of the various subareas in the Netherlands. The dispatchers use PRL to operate signals and switches and set routes for trains to ensure that trains arrive at their destinations on time and without incidents. In addition, PRL helps the dispatcher to detect failures in track elements such as switches and level crossings and to adjust the train service accordingly. PRL is a business-critical system for ProRail and requires 24/7 availability.
PRL was composed of several components developed by different suppliers in the late 1980s. After the merge, management and further development were transferred to InTraffic. Since then, we have added many functionalities. These include the further automation of the support of the dispatcher in adjusting the course of the train in the event of disruptions, ease of use for the dispatcher by realizing automatons for safety-critical or repetitive tasks, and improving efficiency in order to reduce waiting time at level crossings, for example.
One of the most complex information systems in the Netherlands
Meanwhile, PRL is one of the largest and most complex information systems in the Netherlands. It consists of several subsystems, for example for planning, operation and signaling. In total, PRL contains around one and a half million lines of code. Our challenge is to keep the system usable and maintainable while keeping an overview. We do this by agile development and by careful automated testing as much as possible.
The entire software lifecycle
For InTraffic, PRL is an ultimate example of how we can shape the full software lifecycle of your product.
"Despite the fact that the PRL application is large, complex and already quite old after 20 years of use, InTraffic - in an open and constructive cooperation with ProRail - manages to implement the requested changes and extensions while maintaining the application's operational reliability."
- Ad Brandt - Project Manager ProRail
Minimizing inconvenience on the track
We are involved in making the modifications available in the operational environment and in doing so, we minimize inconvenience for rail users, at ProRail itself, but also for travelers. And if, despite our efforts, an unexpected disruption occurs, InTraffic's availability service is ready to solve it 24/7.
Thinking along about new developments
To keep the railroads robust, safe and available in the years ahead, InTraffic actively contributes ideas about new developments and advises ProRail on how to keep PRL future-proof. We also ensure the implementation of new improvements. In recent years, for example, we have contributed to the rollout of a new hardware environment, and the system is currently being translated into C++ and then ported to Linux.