TRAIN passengers could soon be able to see how busy individual train carriages are to help enable social distancing using their phone.

South Western Railway (SWR) has recently trialled an an industry-first system that uses AI to provide capacity information.

Using onboard CCTV cameras, the system anonymously counts the number of passengers in each carriage in real-time.

Although currently in trial mode, the company plans to make the data immediately available to customers using the SWR app and website, allowing them to make decisions even before they arrive at the station.

It is hoped that the new technology will help customers to maintain social distancing and avoid overcrowding when travelling on trains.

SWR’s Commercial Director Peter Williams said: “We know that there are lots of things that feel uncertain at the moment, that’s why we’re doing all we can to help make travelling with us as smooth and safe as possible.

“In addition to helping maintain social distancing, and improving customer comfort and convenience, we hope to use this enhanced information to inform decision making in our control room, and further improve the punctuality and reliability of our services.”

The enhanced information is the result of a collaboration between SWR, AI technology company PoS Insights, and on-board Wi-Fi provider Icomera and is currently being trialled "behind the scenes" on SWR’s Desiro fleet, travelling from London to Basingstoke, Portsmouth, Southampton and Weymouth.

The company plans to make the system customer facing and roll it out across their Class 444 and 450 fleets as soon as possible and network-wide, if the pilot is successful.