Category: RailSmart EDS

Forging Connections Across the Rail Industry

3Sqared Forging Connections

An insight by Graham Cooper, Head of Product & Marketing at 3Squared.

“Since joining the rail industry earlier this year, it has been an interesting learning curve getting to grips with the sector. What strikes me is just how enthusiastic people who work in this industry are. Similar to my experience in the education sector, it is fantastic to be part of an industry which places collaboration and relationships at its heart, connected by the dedication its people have to make a meaningful difference.

“It has been brilliant getting out and about across the UK, meeting with industry leaders and a breadth of organisations to find out more about what makes the industry tick and how 3Squared can continue its work in creating technologies and solutions that make a positive impact on the day-to-day running of the rail network.

“A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting GB Railfreight’s (GBRf) HQ to learn more about how they are using a wide range of 3Squared’s RailSmart software suite to manage their rail freight logistics operations. I’m looking forward to working more closely with the team at GBRf to help further develop the software and help embed the RailSmart suite into their operational fabric.

“An impressive customer visit I had recently was at the SCS HS2 logistics facility in Willesden Junction. The team there are making use of an impressive range of technologies, including 3Squared’s specially built BulkSmart solution, which is sitting at the heart of the programme office on huge screens.

“BulkSmart is used to model, plan, order and monitor the removal of the soil on GBRf freight trains to various landfill sites around the country, ensuring the pile never grows too large. This is an operation that will take 1,000’s of HGVs off our roads during the project, freeing up roads and reducing CO2 emissions at the same time. It is fascinating work, and you can learn more about the HS2 logistics operation here.

“I also had the pleasure of attending the Rail in the North event sponsored by Modern Railways. There were a range of great presentations and topics, from how operators are evolving to deliver better service for passengers (Northern and TPE), to how Liverpool and Manchester are moving ahead with modern, integrated, and accessible transport ecosystems (I’m especially looking forward to this happening in my home city of Manchester).  It was interesting to hear how the Northern Powerhouse Rail project is forging ahead with impressive changes that will deliver a modern link between Manchester and York. Thanks to the team at Modern Railways for inviting me along to the event.

“I also recently received an invite to the CILT Rail Study Forum dinner, a great event for those working in rail to meet and share experiences and opinions. I’m in wholehearted agreement with the welcome note given by CILT RSF President Charley Wallace: “We are on the cusp of the most ambitious changes to our industry in a generation. It’s an exciting and bumpy journey but it is a journey worth making in earnest, and with purpose, and a great opportunity to deliver real and much needed change for our people and customers. The railway is well placed to help the country and realise the promise of our communities and the economy in the years ahead”.

“Many thanks to my new friends and colleagues from across the industry for welcoming me with such open arms and inviting me to the various events, meetings, and offices across the country. I look forward to forging more connections and discovering more about the fascinating sector I am proud to work in.”


If you see Graham out and about, do say hello and connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you would also be interested in discussing the world of rail and more with Graham, get in touch via [email protected]

RailSmart Brand Evolution: An Insight

RailSmart Evolution Q&A

 As you may have seen on our social media before the festive break, we shared the exciting news that we are launching a new brand identity for our RailSmart suite of products. The evolved branding is cleaner and sleeker in its design, to keep in line with 3Squared’s drive to keep up with the evolving demands of the rail industry for seamless, efficient, and easy to use tools and technologies.  

To capture this change, we recently spoke with Patrick Handley, UX/UI and Graphic Designer at 3Squared, on what the thinking process behind this change was, and the intricacies behind the new branding:  


What was 3Squared’s main motivation for evolving the RailSmart brand? 

In a nutshell, we wanted to make the RailSmart brand more relatable, whilst giving it a simple, fresh, and contemporary feel. We wanted to make our products more attractive to both new and existing customers, within the transportation sector and potentially in other markets too. This aligns with the overall aim of helping 3Squared continue to grow and to enhance our reputation within the industry as an innovative, forward-thinking technology company. 

Alongside the design evolution, we have also begun a conscious drive to design our web and mobile applications with accessibility and ease of use in mind, based on Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Our inclusive design approach is led by collaboration; we consult with our clients to understand their teams’ needs, and configure the interface appropriately, always in line with current best design practices. 


 What was the creative process behind the new brand assets? 

The brief was always for an evolution rather than a revolution. The process for creating the new brand assets, such as the logos and colour palettes, was simply to assess what we already had and build on it. We aimed to simplify wherever possible and made sure that the new assets aligned with current trends and best practices, whilst always keeping in mind our drive towards accessibility, relatability, and consistency. 

With regards to creating the new app names, the mantra here was to take a ‘Does what it says on the tin’ approach. Coming up with the new names was a complex process which involved lots of meetings and to-ing and fro-ing with different ideas. However, we had been aware for some time that new, existing, and potential RailSmart customers were getting lost in all the acronyms we have previously used to refer to our different apps. Therefore, creating a set of consistent, easy to understand app names was one of the key ingredients of the brand evolution and crucial in determining its success. 



Was it a collaborative process or did you work to a brief with input from the the other designers and wider 3Squared team? 

I was responsible for creating the new assets, such as the logos, App Brand Colour Palettes, and decorative aspects for the new RailSmart brand, whilst working from a well-defined brief. I received continuous feedback and input throughout the process from other members of the Service Design Team, our directors Tim Jones and James Fox, and colleagues from the wider 3Squared team. This was invaluable in enabling me to create a body of work that not only fulfils the brief, but one that will also hopefully stand the test of time. 

Coming up with the new app names was more of a collaborative process and involved input from numerous people from different teams across 3Squared, including the directors. This was arguably the most difficult aspect of this work, requiring many meetings and ideas sessions before we came to a set of suitable names that we were all happy with, fulfilling the ‘does what it says on the tin’ aspect of the brief. 



How have you married the new assets with the legacy assets? Is there a common brand link? 

The initial brief was always to evolve rather than rebrand, as we didn’t want to risk alienating or causing unnecessary upheaval for existing customers. Whilst there is no marriage of the old and new brand assets as such, the evolution process is very clear when you compare the new assets against the old ones. 


How do you think the new look will speak to current and untapped audiences? 

The new designs provide a modern, fresh, simple look and feel, as well as being more relatable in our brand voice. 


Are there any new tactics or measures you will be creating to evolve the brand further?  

From here, it is very much a process of implementation and in truth it may take some time before we can boast a full implementation of the new brand assets and accessibility features across all our apps. However, we are hoping to release a new website in the next few months, which will serve as the launch pad for our new RailSmart brand to the outside world. 


Finally, what do you hope the new brand identity will achieve? 

Ultimately, I hope that the new, relatable brand identity will help us to attract new customers for our industry leading software and support 3Squared’s continued growth. I also hope that the new brand assets will help to clarify our product offerings for new and existing customers, whilst also standing the test of time in taking the RailSmart brand forward over the coming years. 

James Fox, Commercial Director and Co-Founder at 3Squared, commented on what the design evolution means for the business: “We are excited to evolve our RailSmart brand in line with the changing needs of our customers. Well done to Patrick and the team for bringing our vision to life, and we hope that the new accessible, modern designs make an impact across the industry and to our customers.” 

Thanks to Patrick for the detailed insight into the new RailSmart design assets. Find out more information about RailSmart and its diverse range of benefits, here 

Great British RailSmart Day: A recap

RailSmart EDS laptop and tablet graphic

Competency management is a term that dominates the rail industry, but what does it truly mean and how can the industry harness its benefits to improve efficiencies across the network? This was something that Phil Hibberd, Engagement Manager at rail membership body RSSB (Rail Safety and Standards Board) and James Fox, Commercial Director and Co-Founder at 3Squared, delved into during our second Great British RailSmart Day online event, and more.

In its truest essence, competency management is the process of defining the competency needs within an organisation, assessing employees, identifying gaps, and developing capabilities. Competency management systems (CMSs) provide a framework and process through which an organisation manages health and safety in the workplace, by ensuring that the requisite number of staff possess, maintain, and review the necessary competencies at all levels.

CMSs have significantly improved since 1988, after the Clapham rail disaster which sadly resulted in 35 fatalities. The need for increased safety measures became clear after the incident, with the industry uniting to invest time and resource into enhancing CMSs across the network.

Innovation and technology have a key role to play in the overall improvement of CMS systems, with digital CMSs proactively measuring people’s competencies across health and safety, and organisational efficiencies. This is something that 3Squared have been working hard on over the years to implement across their tools and technologies, which became a key focus for the second half of the event.

RailSmart EDS (Employee Development System) is harnessed by a range of organisations across the industry, to improve efficiencies across their employee management systems. This was a key focus in session two of the event, with James Fox, Kathryn Beaty (Onboarding and Engagement Manager), and Becky Parry (Client Services Manager), leading the audience through an in-depth exploration of the software.

As explored above, competency management is a key consideration across all businesses, particularly ones with salient safety concerns. EDS allows managers to proactively oversee competency and safety, whilst alleviating administrative burdens and enabling managers to spend valuable time with their teams rather than in the office.

EDS was initially developed in 2014 in collaboration with Southwest Trains and East Midlands Trains. This unique collaborative approach makes EDS the only solution built from scratch alongside members of the rail industry, ensuring the system is highly effective particularly in this context. This smart solution has revolutionised the way companies implement competency management, especially for companies who previously used inefficient paper-based systems.

EDS can be used both online via desktop and laptop, as well as on a tablet allowing for greater mobility and is configurable based on the needs of its users. The software can store a wide range of essential information, from assessment results to key medical data, to support plans and recruitment information.

When it comes to assessments, managers can easily monitor employees’ statuses using the Red-Amber-Green (RAG) system which highlights when an assessment needs to be completed. You can create active competency cycles tailored to your company’s needs which ensures you will always stay in control of competency and safety across your organisation.

It allows you to continuously monitor and improve employee competency in a structured way and through interactions, including assessments, observation, classroom-based training, and eLearning. EDS is constantly evolving through its collaborative approach with its users, taking on continuous feedback to ensure the software constantly improves.

Thanks to those who attended our event, and we hope you found it an enjoyable day. If you would be interested in watching the recorded version of the event or learning more about how RailSmart can improve your operations, then get in touch with a member of the team today.

Great British RailSmart Day – 29th September 2021

RailSmart EDS on laptop and tablet

Join us on the 29th September for an informative and interactive session where we will be demonstrating our RailSmart competency management system, EDS: Employee Development System, and showcasing exactly why and how you can benefit from digitalizing this crucial element of caring for and developing your staff.  

The day will feature a number of specific sections, each will provide invaluable content in their own right, and as a whole will help you understand how you could benefit as an individual or an organization from the application of EDS in your working environment.  

Get your free ticket on our Eventbrite page: 


Session one: What is competency management and why do you need it?  


Competency management systems (CMSs) provide a framework and process through which an organisation manages health and safety in the workplace by ensuring that the requisite number of staff possess, maintain and review the necessary competencies at all levels.  

In this session we will discuss the benefits of introducing a digital CMS and how the proactive measurement of people’s competencies drives health and safety, and organisational efficiency.  

Securing competence and development of staff at all levels is a crucial element of simultaneously embedding and securing a culture that proactively manages safety, by making health and safety everybody’s business.  

We will conclude this session with a high-level overview of EDS.  Focusing on the principal elements of the system we will demonstrate how individual employees and managers are enabled to track and progress throughout competency cycles which underpin and enhance organisational efficiency and promote a culture in which everyone understands the role they play in their own and their team’s health and safety  

Session two: EDS for rail professionals, a deeper dive  


According to the ORR* organisations “need an effective system for managing competence to help make sure that their staff have the appropriate skills [so] workers, supervisors, managers and directors have and keep the appropriate skills, helps ensure those members of staff make safe decisions and carry out their work safely, reducing the risks to themselves and to other people.”  

In this session we will take a much deeper look into EDS, and show you how organisations across the rail community and supply chain use EDS to do exactly what the ORR recommends. Citing use cases from across signalling, rolling stock manufacture and maintenance and train operations we will demonstrate the positive impact and benefit that EDS has provided to our clients. This will specific element of the day will show you how EDS can provide a consistent CMS framework that suits all organisations, whilst providing the necessary personalisation to ensure that your own unique use cases can be accommodated.  


Here at 3Squared, we are proud to count over 25000 individuals as users of our Employee Development System, EDS. EDS is a competency management system that sits at the heart of RailSmart, our suite of digital tools that enables our clients to harness the digitalisation of processes to become safer, more efficient and more sustainable. Used by Network Rail, passenger and freight operators, vehicle and wagon manufacturers and maintainers, EDS has been developed as a SaaS product for the railway industry, but it is a system that offers carefully tailored content to ensure that it is intuitive to use whilst addressing the specific and complex needs of each client in relation to their unique risk profiles.  

For more information on EDS and the importance of digital competency management tools please see further information on our website:  

You can also find more information about competency management in our article featured in ‘Inside Track’ (p.52-54):  

*Source: ORR, RM3 2019 

Our new RailSmart logo to enhance evolving brand identity

RailSmart Logo

3Squared are pleased to share their new RailSmart logo, which helps to align their new brand identity with the drive towards innovation that runs through the heart of the business.

Designed by Patrick Handley, 3Squared’s multi-talented, in-house Graphic Designer, the logo was created with innovation in mind, and forms the cornerstone to the evolution of the RailSmart brand towards a more accessible, relatable and contemporary brand identity. The new logo also aims to reflect 3Squared’s mission to offer a suite of user-friendly software products for today’s modern businesses, offering services which enable them to be safer, greener and more efficient in their business practices.

Within the design, Patrick and the team have placed a significant focus on the lightbulb icon being the main visual element of the logo, as it is widely associated as being a symbol of innovative thinking. The new icon is also bolder and simpler in its design, to make it more recognisable and to improve legibility at small sizes. The app tile element also provides a contrasting backdrop to the bulb icon, to further support legibility and to give the new logo a more contemporary feel, by tying together their new App Brand Colours into a seamless multicolor gradient, which you can see in further detail below:


RailSmart Logo

RailSmart is an innovative suite of web and mobile applications, which aims to improve efficiency and transparency across the rail sector. It has undoubtedly revolutionised the way in which the rail industry and most of the UK rail freight sector is using the software, to streamline and enhance their operations.

Lucy Prior, Business Engagement Director at 3Squared, commented: “It is fantastic to see the ideas and innovation that exist within RailSmart come to life in the new logo. It is important in today’s digital age that we have a brand identity that showcases the forward-thinking and dynamic way in which we operate and support our clients, and we look forward to seeing how the new logo is received by our friends and colleagues from across the industry and getting the 3Squared and RailSmart brands out there, to new and untapped audiences.”

Find out more information about RailSmart here.

RailSmart Virtual Roadshow (13-14th October)

RailSmart on Laptop and Mobile Tablet

Technology is transforming transport and the way we work.  3Squared is at the forefront of that change. We understand how to use change and innovation in technology to deliver value.

Join us on Tuesday 13th October and Wednesday 14th October 2020 for a series of free, interactive sessions to learn more about RailSmart and participate in live discussion.

Our RailSmart® suite of products is powering transformational change across the rail sector. By digitalising typically wieldy processes we are helping our clients become more efficient, improve safety and reduce operational and administrative costs.

To demonstrate the range of our products and services, and to give you chance to see how RailSmart® could help you, we are running a number of live product demonstrations and thought leadership seminars during our new virtual roadshow.

The seminars will discuss the latest trends and emerging needs of the rail sector and delve into how digital transformation is essential to meet those needs.

Additionally, we will be joined by our guest speakers from the Rail Freight Group and RSSB providing industry insight on the rail freight sector and the new Rail Technical Strategy.


Tuesday 13th October (Day One) 

• 10.00 – 11.15 Digital Competency Management for all

Learn about RailSmart EDS and how our digital tools remove the burden from assessments to managing employee performance.

• 13.00 – 14.00 Adopting to new ways of working in rail freight

Learn about RailSmart and the Freight industry, with guest speaker introduction Maggie Simpson Director General RFG

• 15.00-16.00 RailSmart EDS User group

A virtual question and answer session for existing EDS Competency Management customers

• 16.00 – 17.00 Managing the Supply Chain with BulkSmart

A preview of RailSmart BulkSmart and its features and benefits for yard management, order tracking and Load tracking



Wednesday 14th October (Day Two)

• 10.00 – 11.30 – Incident Management for Operations

Streamlining Incident Management and smarter decision making by collaborating through RailSmart IM

• 13.00 – 14.00 – The new Rail Technical Strategy and the underpinning R&D

Learn more about the new RTS and what it means for RSSB R&D programme and the 3Squared’s Dynamic Freight Capacity Management project with guest speaker introduction Luisa Moisio, R&D Programme Director

• 15.00-16.00 – RailSmart Operations User group

A virtual question and answer session for existing customers using IM and Documents & Forms


3Squared launch RailSmart Virtual Campus to accelerate the digital railway

RailSmart Virtual Campus on laptop

Leading software company 3Squared, provider of technological solutions to the rail industry, is pleased to announce the launch of its RailSmart Virtual Campus, in response to the rapidly evolving needs of its customers and to support rail bodies across the UK to bring the digital railway to life.

The campus, the first of its kind for the Sheffield-based SME, will enable RailSmart customers to access a blend of training tools including eLearning modules, virtual instructor led training, micro simulation and other interactive content. It will also be harnessed by 3Squared for the onboarding of its customers to their RailSmart product portfolio, as seen in its recent success in onboarding Network Rail to support rail passengers across the UK.

This significant milestone follows on from a successful year for 3Squared, following their recent signing of coveted contracts with HS2, Network Rail and RSSB (Rail Safety and Standards Board). RailSmart, 3Squared’s flagship product, is a driver for operational efficiency and simplifying information management. It provides the industry with a suite of software applications to help improve operational efficiency, reduce incidents, mitigate business risk and overcome complex rail challenges.

Bespoke elearning opportunities

The innovative product is built on top of the industry leading commercial SAP Litmos cloud based Learning Management System (LMS) platform, which is currently used by over 22 million learners worldwide. The LMS will also be integrated into 3Squared’s award-winning competency management solution, RailSmart EDS. Using the LMS, customers will be able to create bespoke eLearning content, schedule distance based instructor led courses and include them as interactions within competency cycles and development plans. Through the EDS, assessors will also be able to view employees eLearning results and course completion information.

3Squared have chosen to use SAP Litmos due to its enterprise grade reliability, accessibility and cutting edge features, such as its machine learning assessment capabilities, that can analyse video observations for correctness and sentiment.

John Hickling, Client Partnership Director at 3Squared, commented:

“With the Coronavirus pandemic forcing everyone to work remotely we felt it was the perfect time to launch our RailSmart Virtual Campus. 3Squared’s innovative rail products save our customers time and boost efficiencies, and the Virtual Campus ensures that clients can get up to speed with our products quickly and easily from the comfort of their own home.

“Technology is radically transforming the world of transportation and we are excited to be at the forefront of the step change across the industry, and showcasing how digital innovation can truly deliver value to rail customers across the UK.”

Get in touch if you would like to request a demo of the RailSmart Virtual Campus.

3Squared signs five-year extension agreement with East Midlands Railway

3Squared and East Midlands Railway

Sheffield-based rail technology specialists 3Squared is pleased to announce it has signed an extension with East Midlands Railway (EMR) for the train operator to continue to use its Employee Development System.


As part of the new deal, EMR will use 3Squared’s innovative RailSmart Employee Development System (EDS), which reduces the administrative burden of employee competency management, to help proactively manage and improve the capabilities of its staff.  EMR is dedicated as business to bring in wide-ranging improvements to its services, trains and stations.  EDS will be intrinsic to this as it actively enables users, at an organisational level, to drive efficiencies whilst contributing to overall safety and environmental measures.

3Squared supply expert consultancy and digital solutions developed to tackle known and emerging rail system challenges. The tools are dynamic and help customers generate actional insight from a suit of intuitive apps which can help inform decision making on the move.

East Midlands Railway and its predecessor, East Midlands Trains, has been using EDS for six years and helped to develop the ground-breaking system alongside 3Squared.  This new extension guarantees the further usage of EDS for a further five years.

3Squared will offer the EDS cloud-based platform for EMR which features the continuous monitoring and improvements of employee competencies, candidate profiling, improved visibility of employee competency data including medicals, incidents, support plans and previous assessments and a reporting tool provides business insight and better visibility of competency information.

Lucy Prior, Business Engagement Director at 3Squared said: “We are delighted to sign an extension with EMR. EMR and its predecessor, East Midlands Trains, helped to develop EDS so it is particularly pleasing that the train operator will be able to continue to the reap the rewards of using EDS for years to come.”

Trevor Parkin, Head of Operational Standards at East Midlands Railway added: “3Squared’s Employee Development System has been a step change in the way we manage and assess our Drivers’ competence. Assessments can be planned more robustly and are carried out with all information for the Driver immediately to hand.

“Feedback is delivered instantaneously and signed for in real time. It is also possible to profile a driver’s (and also the assessor’s) performance across their competence cycle. For identifying and managing risk areas within our driver team and therefore reducing the potential for operating incidents, EDS brings huge benefits to our business.”