Latest Rail News

17.06.16

Partners sought to develop ‘breakthrough’ LU track switch prototype

Loughborough University has issued an invitation to tender for a £400,000 contract to help develop a prototype rail track switch on the London Underground.

The Repoint switch allows redundant, fail-safe actuation and locking of track switches for the first time, meaning that trains can continue running because the failure of a single actuator element does not lead to the failure of the entire switch. This allows trains to keep running until maintenance becomes possible.

The Control Systems Research Group at the university’s Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, who designed the switch, are now seeking to implement a full-scale prototype on the Underground before issuing licences for the technology in the UK and overseas.

Professor Roger Dixon, head of the Control Systems Research Group, said: “This invitation to tender is a golden opportunity to be involved with a project offering breakthrough technology that hasn’t been seen before.

“Once implemented, Repoint will improve reliability and increase capacity on our expanding rail network. We invite you to be a part of this journey.”

Dixon discussed the development of the Repoint track switch in the last edition of RTM, where he explained that what “began with an idea” eventually led to a change that breaks with 200 years of tradition. In his article, he argues that the cost-effective technology can help “make track switch failures a thing of the past”.

The Repoint design project was funded by the RSSB.

Companies interested in bidding for the contract should email C.Vallis@lboro.ac.uk.

The latest issue of RTM features an article by Professor Dixon about the process of developing the Repoint switch.

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