Latest Rail News

08.09.17

DfT invites entries for second round of rail innovation funding

Another tranche of funding worth £7.9m has been made available by DfT this week to help develop modern and innovative approaches to improve the passenger experience across the UK.

The next round of cash in the Accelerating Innovation in Rail (AIR) scheme is open to companies of all sizes, but entries must be collaborative and involve two different organisations and at least one SME.

Previous schemes that have won funding from the government include lightweight energy-saving carriages, software that tells passengers how busy arriving trains are, and personalised ticket machines to help passengers with their ongoing journeys.

“We want to see ideas that improve reliability on the network for passengers,” said rail minister Paul Maynard, who has previously written for RTM about the need for innovation in rail.

“We have a wealth of pioneering, innovative companies out there ready to put their ideas into practice.”

Maynard also explained that the money is about nurturing innovation on the railways and developing trains that are less reliant on complex and expensive infrastructure.

“We want to tap into these inventive and ground-breaking ideas for the benefit of rail passengers across the country, and to support the biggest modernisation programme in rail since the Victorian era,” he concluded.

The last round of funding was awarded in March this year and attracted interest from a mix of innovations, such as designs for automated vehicles to carry out track inspections, improve trackside drainage to cut delays and line closures and software to predict when potential train breakdowns might happen.

One notable project that has been supported by the fund is Vivarail’s battery-powered D-Train, which will be the first train on the UK network to use this technology – although others are also implementing similar technology on light rail.

DfT allocates funding through a “rigorous assessment process” that will involve experts from the industry as well as up to £4m in private sector

Entries will be accepted from 18 September to 15 November – to apply for funding, click here.

The countdown is on to get your entries in for this year’s UKRIA. Closing date is 25 September. ENTER NOW! 

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