Rail Industry Focus

27.09.19

Developing the future of UK infrastructure invested in Southampton

The University of Southampton officially unveils the National Infrastructure Laboratory on its Boldrewood Innovation campus today.

The opening of the centre, by chief executive of Network Rail, Andrew Haines, will see the Southampton’s continuation of shaping the future of the UK’s major infrastructure, representing a £48m investment.

The city already leads the Infrastructure Hub of the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN), a network of 9 universities and 17 industry partners aiming to accelerate new technologies and products from research into market applications globally.

Much of UK infrastructure needs updating, including the transport system and the energy sector to keep up with the changes happening socially and environmentally.

The infrastructure adequacies in the UK are currently costing the UK £2m a day. The new laboratory will provide state of the art resources and equipment for both students at the university and researchers to hone their skills in infrastructure design and be ready to meet the demands of the modern world.

The laboratory is home to five new engineering laboratories including a 30 x 15 metre large structures testing lab and a cutting-edge geotechnical centrifuge.

Centrifuge1

William Powrie, professor of geotechnical engineering at the University of Southampton said: “Our research in rail infrastructure has underpinned innovation and design improvements for several years.

“This new investment by Network Rail will accelerate customer focused improvements in performance, cost-efficient design and carbon neutral construction.

“Decarbonisation of the infrastructure and the way we use it, to help avert the climate catastrophe, will be a major goal.”

Chief executive of National Rail, Andrew Haines said: “The laboratory will increase our ability to keep trains running in the face of extreme weather, reduce infrastructure failures and downtime for repairs, and reduce the cost to the taxpayer of maintenance.

 

“It will make it easier to test new ideas, realistically test the demands of heavy rail use, and speed up the delivery of essential improvements.”

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