First Hull Trains get app back on track

20 April 2020

First Hull Trains, part of FirstGroup, is a UK rail operator running 90 services a week between London King’s Cross and Hull’s Paragon Interchange.

It carries over 800,000 passengers every year on its fleet of four Class 180 DMUs. Its aim is to deliver an industry-leading customer experience. It has invested in and achieved various innovative industry firsts, a pioneer in the UK transport sector. To continue this innovation, FirstGroup wanted to improve their existing app for smart devices. Through this, it would be possible to buy tickets and check train times, as before, but also to log on to station and train Wi-Fi seamlessly without the need to repeat the login process again. In addition to these services, FirstGroup also wanted to offer all their passengers onboard media content.

The successful connectivity solution needed to support all of these features. There were five suppliers involved in the delivery of the solution, none of which had previously integrated with each other’s technology. Icomera’s primary goals were to provide the onboard 4G-enabled passenger Wi-Fi and host a virtual onboard media content server while also facilitating L2 MAC authentication for Single Sign Up (SSU) between the station Wi-Fi networks and the onboard Wi-Fi. • Virtual Onboard Media Server running on the Icomera X-Series platform • Collaboration and integration with solution partners Both First Group and First Hull Trains dedicated time and energy to finding a solution that would offer passengers an all-round better service. The most appropriate equipment and technologies were then selected before the installation process began.

The solution was built around the Icomera X6 router. Icomera also provided the onboard 4G-enabled passenger Wi-Fi service. CAPMedia provided the video on demand content via a primary media server at Hull station and a virtual onboard media server hosted on the Icomera X6. Masabi was responsible for the development of the passenger app. Airsense created the connection management app for smart devices, handling the device authentication and handover.