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Government set to invest £7.6m in rail innovation

The Government has announced it is set to invest £7.6m into helping transform rail travel with new cutting edge technology.

The investment forms part of this year’s First of a Kind competition which invites bids from companies specialising in innovative ways to modernise the railways.

This year’s competition will be the sixth time it has run since its inception and forms part of the Government’s Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail.

The competition is set to open officially to applicants on 20th April and will close on June 8th.

Organisations of all sizes are being encouraged to forward projects to create a greener, more cost-effective and passenger focussed railway.

Speaking on the competition Rail Minister Wendy Morton said: “I am incredibly excited to launch the sixth round of our First of a Kind competition.

“In partnership with Innovate UK, we have already invested £35.4 million into over 100 ground-breaking projects.

“We’ve seen cutting edge technologies such as HydroFLEX developed, the first ever trial of a hydrogen-powered train on the UK mainline.

“As part of our Plan for Rail it’s key we continue breathing life into new ideas.

“[We are] supporting innovation and design to deliver greener rail journeys and transform rail travel for all passengers.”

Similar projects like this have proved successful within the rail industry with Rail Forum Midlands thrilled with the progress of its most recent SME challenge.

In last years First of a Kind competition 33 innovators received grants of up to £400,000.

Over 100 projects have been launched by the First of a Kind fund which promote greener railways, improve passengers’ experience, boost accessibility and help rail be more cost- effective.

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