Fares, rail policy and DfT news

08.07.20

Network Rail backing revolutionary rail ideas

Network Rail is supporting 11 of the 25 winning entrants of the Government’s £9.4m First of a Kind (FOAK) 2020 competition to deliver a better, more dependable and efficient railway for passengers and freight users.

Funded by the Department for Transport and managed by Innovate UK, the competition inspires innovation in the rail industry by asking companies for go-getting ideas that could transform the railway.

The project that will directly support Network Rail’s Research and Development (R&D) Portfolio include:

  • Demonstrating low cost 10Gigabit+ connectivity for the railway
  • Creating a novel and cost-effective composite footbridge for use on the railway
  • Improving resilience through a surface water flooding decision support system
  • Tunnel and station monitoring using railway optical detection to identify obstructions
  • Integrated optical fibre sensing to optimise rail switches & crossings maintenance

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The winners of this year’s First of a Kind competition will support better, more environmentally friendly journeys. Crucially, these pioneering projects will also ensure that passengers have a more efficient, reliable and responsive railway, making journeys simpler and easier.”

Mark Gaddes, R&D third party funding and engagement manager at Network Rail, said: “We were delighted to encourage innovators to approach Network Rail with their proposals for this First of a Kind competition. The range and quality of ideas put forward was exceptional, and we’re looking forward to working with the winners to improve the railway for passengers.”

Danielle Stephenson, project manager at Network Rail for the safety, security and analytics project said: “As a new member of the R&D team I have been blown away with the excellent ideas and solutions that the companies have come up with so far. I am looking forward to seeing them implemented in a live station environment in September."

Kelvin Davies, Innovation Lead for Rail at Innovate UK, said: “As the UK’s innovation agency we are here to support the best ideas from the UK’s most innovative companies. Through working with Network Rail, we have seen the strength of interest, quality of applications and enthusiasm. This shows there is a real confidence that businesses large and small can grow by focussing on opportunities in rail. This is vital as we all work together to build a bigger, better and greener railway".

Image: Network Rail 

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