Shortly before departure time, the watch vibrates to tell the guard to begin the train departure process. The smartwatch then counts down the time to the train’s scheduled departure.

The device is synchronised with the smartwatch worn by the train drivers and also provides the guard with passenger information, helping them to deal with enquiries.

NS says the focus on ensuring a safe and punctual departure means guards are often preoccupied with monitoring the clock on the platform when assisting passengers. The smartphone is therefore expected to improve customer service as well as punctuality.

With ridership growth increasing the pressure on infrastructure capacity, NS is turning to technology to ensure platform dispatch is punctual to the second. The operator recently began trialling a new passenger information system at Utrecht Central station which provides information on train composition, stopping position and the availability of seats in each vehicle, with a countdown clock to notify passengers of imminent departure.