Comment

05.09.16

Next generation rail

Source: RTM Aug/Sep 16

Giulia Lorenzini, partnerships manager at the RSSB, reviews this year’s Next Generation Rail Conference.

Innovation is alive and well in the rail industry! That was the clear message to come out of the Next Generation Rail conference, a three-day event held at the National Training Academy for Rail in Northampton this summer. 

Jointly organised by the rail industry body RSSB, the research organisation RRUKA and the Young Rail Professionals, and sponsored by RTM, the event attracted more than 200 young delegates from the railway and academia. 

A series of interesting and informative presentations from an impressive array of speakers, representing business and higher education, provided delegates with plenty of food for thought. Crispin Humm, head of customer experience at ATOC, told an enthusiastic audience: “You are coming into the rail industry at an exciting time. Rail recognises the need to change and become more agile.” 

Richard Jones, rail business director at the innovation company Transport System Catapult, highlighted the threat posed by disruptive technologies, such as driverless cars, but said rail still has significant advantages over other forms of transport. “The railway must spot opportunities and innovate,” he urged. 

Innovathon 

An innovation marathon, renamed ‘Innovathon’, encouraged delegates to let their imagination run free. 

“There were some wonderfully energising and entertaining workshops, which provided insight into the tools and techniques needed to fast-track ideas and turn them into reality,” said Chris Lawrence, technical director at RSSB. 

“Next Generation Rail has a crucial role to play in motivating talented young rail professionals and putting across to them the importance of creating a culture of innovation in the rail sector where ideas – their ideas – can flourish.” 

The Innovathon climaxed with four entertaining presentations from delegate groups, each setting out ways of making train travel a more comfortable and pleasurable experience. 

The winning idea for a virtual Personal Travel buddy – an advanced version of the holograms that can already be found at some mainline stations – wowed the judges.

Rounding off the event, James Pritchard from the University of Southampton won the ‘Best Presentation’ competition and Andraž Krslin, a researcher at Cranfield University triumphed in the ‘Best Poster’ competition.

What the delegates said 

  • James Pritchard, research fellow, University of Southampton (winner of the Best Presentation competition): “I really appreciated the opportunity to network with, and present my work to a range of people from industry.  It is important to me that my work is useful and relevant to the challenges facing the industry.  The competitive element is good for those of us who like a challenge, and encourages us to ensure that what we present is indeed interesting for the assembled audience.”
  • Andraž Kršlin, researcher, Cranfield University (Winner of Best Poster Competition): “A conference about the future of the UK rail industry gave me an opportunity to benchmark our project against the best ones in the field. Winning the Poster Competition showed that we are developing interesting and relevant solutions for the rail industry. I was delighted to win and have the chance to take part in an inspirational event.”
  • To-Sum Chan, CCS Engineer, Research & Standards, RSSB: “The most valuable gain from the conference was to learn one of many approaches to innovate with a systemic process. The Next Generation Rail Conference 2016 has given us a tool-set for innovation, which surely will create a brighter future for the rail industry.”
  • Amy Donohoe, student, University of Bath: “I found the diversity and enthusiasm of attendees particularly inspiring. I think the biggest thing that I took away from the event was the phrase ‘the wilder the better’ and an understanding that abstract ideas are often the ones that produce the most innovative solutions to a problem. The workshops and social events provided me with the opportunity to network with my peers, creating contacts within industry which I’m sure will be of great value further on in my career.” 
  • Emma Liversage, data analyst, Tracsis: “The Innovathon contest was very helpful and thought provoking.”
  • Matt Cope, innovation manager, FirstGroup: “The Next Generation Rail conference was a great example of bringing together the future leaders of the industry to work collaboratively on the innovation practices that will transform rail and ensure its continued success.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

View all News

rail industry focus

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 Year with brand-new infrastructrure to... 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 TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme. Recognising that young people are more likely to take a risk trespassing on railway tracks, C... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey’s commercial account director, Anna Delvecchio, for her insight into what the Rail Sector Deal means for the rail industry and its supply chain. Anna started her career as an apprentice at the age o... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

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

By Ewan Quayle, Rail Technology Magazine Reporter Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on R... more >
Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

24/06/2019Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

Ahead of his appearance, Malcolm Holmes spoke with Rail Technology Magazine about what key leaders in the industry were doing to improve rail in ... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >