Rail freight

13.01.20

£9.4m in rail technology contracts announced

Innovate UK has announced £9.4m worth of technology contracts from the Department of Transport, for organisations to apply for, aiming to improve rail services to passengers and operators.

As the number of rail users in the UK continues to grow, as do the challenges faced by the rail industry. 1.7 billion passengers and 110 million tonnes of freight rely on the rail network every year.

Rapid growth, changing customer expectations and ageing infrastructure add pressure to the industry which has seen a 28% increase of trains since 1997 and is expected to increase by 58% over the next ten years.

The funding, which come sunder the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), will finance a competition looking to improve current engineering and technologies to meet expectations of customers and enhance services to customers and future business.

The competition opens today (Jan 13) and closes at midday on March 11th, it will be open to organisations of any size and will award contracts of between £100,000 and £400,000.

Successful projects will aim to prove how technologies such as automation or innovative uses of data could be used on the railways.

The four areas of focus are:

Environmental sustainability; low-carbon freight, low-emission self-powered vehicles, energy generation and storage, air quality improvement, noise reduction and recyclable materials.

Customer experience; improved access and accessibility, optimised journey times, improved information systems, on-board and station connectivity, passenger comfort and analysis of customer feedback.

Railway operations; improved dwell time at stations, optimised freight planning, better recovery form disruption, better information from frontline staff, real-time decision-making assistance, use of robotics to improve safety and security.

Optimised and cost-effective maintenance; automation and robotics, automated cleaning, on-site maintenance of rolling stock, improved reporting of failures.

Responding to the announcement, David Clarke, technical director of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said:

“It’s great news that £9.4 million is available for new projects that would make our railways even more green, reduce costs, improve customer experience and increase accessibility.

“As we look to the future, there are a number of opportunities where the UK rail industry could develop world leading capabilities - such as in the areas of materials, data, automation and energy – which could not only improve our own rail system, but also could help the UK export even more.

“I’d urge all companies, whether you have experience in the rail industry or not, to get involved in the ‘first of a kind’ competition and help develop innovations to improve our railways.”

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Cabinet Office releases procurement guidance to support suppliers

06/04/2020Cabinet Office releases procurement guidance to support suppliers

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Cabinet Office has changed the way procurement cards may be used. The outbreak has placed increase... more >
Key railway workers keep Britain moving

06/04/2020Key railway workers keep Britain moving

As the country enters its third week of lockdown the rail industry has been working tirelessly to keep the country moving. A condensed passe... more >
Public consultation extended by Network Rail on major upgrade to railway in West Yorkshire

06/04/2020Public consultation extended by Network Rail on major upgrade to railway in West Yorkshire

Network Rail has lengthened the public consultation period in which residents and passengers can express their opinions and give feedback on prop... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

14/11/2019Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

Rail Technology Magazine’s Matt Roberts explains the significant role data can play within the future development of the rail industry. Standing as a cornerstone of the UK transport network, the rail industry is forever striving to innovate and maximise efficiency in all aspects of its work. Data is just one such way of achievi... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >