Multi-million investment in research and development (R&D) thanks to Control Period 6 (CP6) is already finding new, imaginative and innovative ways to deliver greater rail services for passengers and freight.
In the five-year funding period that started in April 2019, a record amount of money will be invested to improve the railways in Britain.
As part of this funding, Network Rail has invested £245 million in R&D and already, it is paying dividends.
One of the initiatives that has come out of this funding is a project that will ‘listen’ to rail lines, identifying problems before they are able to delay passengers.
Network Rail is working in collaboration with Innovate UK to deliver its R&D portfolio, broadening the range of companies that can work within the industry, expanding the rail network and responding to growing demand.
It has also been confirmed that the companies that were recently awarded funding as part of the Department for Transport’s First of a Kind competition will also contribute to Network Rail’s R&D portfolio.
This, Network Rail say, is a sign that the industry is committed to embracing innovation, as the projects will strengthen the resilience of railway infrastructure and operations for passengers.
Not only this, freight services will also be enhanced, reducing environmental and noise impacts for lineside neighbours.
Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of Network Rail, spoke at Rail Live to highlight the projects that are extending the organisation’s R&D capabilities.
He said: “We are supporting a number of companies who are developing great new ideas to deliver a better service for passengers.
“For example, SpectRail is a low-cost intelligent infrastructure project to ‘listen’ to the railway and detect problems like wheel flats, cable theft and trespass before they delay passengers.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the development of artificial intelligence-assisted lineside inspections to help us do a better and quicker job of reducing delays caused by falling leaves and trees.”