Awards, contracts & appointments

22.04.20

RIA 'Digital Journeys' - Day One Webinar Series

The Railway Industry Association’s (RIA) Unlocking Innovation series has gone virtual, with a series of five webinars being held over the week of 20 April. With the first webinar taking place on Monday, the discussion looked into what opportunities are being presented for new businesses looking to get into rail.

Britain’s rail network is at the moment benefitting from “unprecedented opportunities” for innovation with more than 100 beneficiary projects now underway from an overall investment pot of £357m.

That was the main message delivered by Network Rail’s Programme Manager for Research & Development, Karl Butler-Garnham, speaking in the opening session of RIA’s ‘Digital Journeys for Rail Passengers & Freight’ webinar series.

 Butler-Garnham said the £245m direct funding that is currently available from the Department for Transport and the regulator was “an incredible amount of money that we have really not had before in this space”. When this funding is combined with external funding of £112m, it adds up to £357m being available during the timespan known within the rail sector as Control Period 6 (CP6) – from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2024. 

He also said that 101 of 173 planned projects, which include the use of smart-sensor technologies and lasers to help rail maintenance, had kicked off in the just-completed first year of the current funding round.

RIA Day One Webinar Image

He emphasised that the ‘portfolio horizon’ for projects was 20 years – “this isn’t about creating better, faster spanners or hammers, this is about material changes to the way we do things in the rail industry” – with overall goals including asset sustainability, safety and security. Network Rail has an R&D delivery team numbering 33 people “and growing”, he said, with partners including UKRRIN, Connected Places Catapult, InnovateUK and MTC.  

Butler-Garnham, who is also chair of the rail industry’s Data and Information System Interface Committee (DISIC), added that Network Rail is also a founding partner of the Shift2Rail European R&D initiative, which has an overall value of about €900m.

RIA’s Richard Jones, Senior Technical and Innovation Manager, chaired the event and emphasised the importance of Network Rail’s ‘Challenge Statements’, which are the foundation of NR’s investment strategy for Control Period 6. 

The online event, attended by more than 100 delegates, also saw three ‘elevator pitches’ delivered by SMEs with ongoing experience of facilitating or delivering innovation in the rail sector. 

David Davey described the project management and consultancy offering of his firm, Engineering Integration, and its experience in areas such as Very Light Rail.

Peter Hicks of Open Train Times described how his firm works with data on projects ranging from software development and APIs, to timetable verification and analysis.

Emily Kent outlined how her firm, OneBigCircle, which has a background in sports video, had made in-roads into rail. After trials including with NR’s New Measurement Train, OneBigCircle has recently secured a 12-month contract with Transport for Wales to fit smart cameras on trains to automatically record and analyse vegetation risks.

RIA’s Richard Jones closed the event by asking speakers whether and how they believe ridership will return after the Coronavirus lockdown. Peter Hicks suggested that commuting trends would likely change so season tickets would need to be more flexible but that leisure travel usage would likely prove robust. Emily Kent foresaw franchising models becoming “even more passenger-focused”. 

RIA’s ‘Digital Journeys’ series is taking place every day this week (20th-24th.) If you wish to attend register here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Ep 11. With Invisi Smart shield you can confidently touch a ticket machine, Saba Yussouf

28/05/2020Ep 11. With Invisi Smart shield you can confidently touch a ticket machine, Saba Yussouf

Saba Yussouf, CEO of Invisi Smart Technologies UK, joins host Ailsa Cowen for episode 11 of Rail Technology Magazine's podcast Track Talk. T... more >
Revolutionary £2.7bn plan for Derbyshire’s links to HS2 hub station at Toton

28/05/2020Revolutionary £2.7bn plan for Derbyshire’s links to HS2 hub station at Toton

A £2.7bn transport plan to deliver fast and frequent connections to the HS2 East Midlands Hub station at Toton and key development sties ac... more >
Ep 10. We need to keep investing in rail, Kate Jennings

27/05/2020Ep 10. We need to keep investing in rail, Kate Jennings

Policy Director and Lead Coronavirus Response Co-Ordinator at RIA, Kate Jennings, joined host Matt Roberts on Track Talk to discuss how the rail ... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

14/11/2019Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

Rail Technology Magazine’s Matt Roberts explains the significant role data can play within the future development of the rail industry. Standing as a cornerstone of the UK transport network, the rail industry is forever striving to innovate and maximise efficiency in all aspects of its work. Data is just one such way of achievi... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >