Department for Transport partners with Google Cloud on rail network app

Train moving very fast past the camera, which is held on a station platform

The Department for Transport (DfT) is embracing digital transformation by migrating its first in-house developed application to Google's Cloud Platform.

The department has moved its Latest Earnings Networked Nationally Overnight (LENNON) application to Google's public cloud platform in an attempt to move away from legacy data centres into a more flexible and scalable environment.

LENNON is a huge, 100TB database for the rail sector, tracking data such as ticket sales and franchise earnings, allowing the rail technical and data management team to understand the current state of the UK's rail network.

Engineers from the DfT's digital team, its rail technical and data management team, Google and Cloud Technology Solutions teamed up on the project to digitise the platform, making it a faster way to look up data, running queries simultaneously to make a process that claims to be 20 times faster than its on-premise counterpart.

Although the previous iteration of LENNON was used by the DfT, it was limited in functionality given how long it took employees to source and retrieve data from the system.

The department said the cloud-based system has made it much faster to run multiple queries, resulting in better data insights. It's also much quicker to find data, freeing up other resources within the department and provides a more robust backup and maintenance solution.

"For DfT's Digital Service, this project has demonstrated some huge benefits of using Google Cloud Platform," the DfT said. "I hope and expect that this experience will enable us to further improve our efficiency through the transformation of similar applications."

The next stage of development is to use LENNON's migration blueprints for other areas of the DfT's digital transformation strategy.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.