Rail Industry Focus

20.12.19

Network Rail seeking £2.8m worth of contracts for technological solutions

Innovate UK and UK Research and Innovation have today (Dec 20) announced that Network Rail is looking for organisations to apply for contracts worth £2.8m.

Organisations can apply for a share of £2.8m for projects that tackle technological challenges on the railway.

The UK rail giant is seeking technological solutions to issues they face such as fare-dodging, trespassing, theft and vandalism and improving the ability to detect structures and vegetation alongside rail lines.

Network Rail is using the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) to run two funding competitions to source innovative solutions to these challenges through SMEs and other organisations.

The first competition Is ‘Detecting and deterring trespassers’, looking for physical or technological systems that detect and deter trespass at platform edges. Solutions should be researched for three months before installation, and need to be able to deter trespassers physically, visually or audibly.

Projects will also be trialled at two live stations for 12 months, be adaptable to different stations, and should be able to be installed without interfering with existing equipment or trains.

The second competition is ‘Accurately identifying rail-side structures’, searching for innovative ways to automate processing of structure gauging for Network Rail.

There are two phases to the competition but projects will be expected to train the application to identify structures in the first phase and then apply for funding to demonstrate it in the second phase.

Systems must be able to demonstrate correct identification of vegetation and masonry, identification of existing structures when compared with the existing National Gauging Database and reading of structure distance and track cant (difference in elevation between inner and outer rail) and curvature.

Systems should also be able to convert data from 3D scanning into structural gauging files and identify changes such as removed structures and added structures.

Both competitions opened on Dec 2 and organisations of any size may apply, with a deadline of registration on Jan 22 2020.

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