Network Rail has announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Strukton Rail to support the delivery of £245 million worth of research and development (R&D) projects for Control Period 6 (CP6).
Jon Shaw, Chief Engineer at Network Rail, and Jacob Zeeman, CEO of Strukton, signed the MoU which will see owner operator of Britain’s railway infrastructure and the rail and civil engineering company work together to develop asset management, intelligent infrastructure and advanced data analytics.
This will in turn support passenger and freight journeys, increasing their reliability, whilst making maintenance safer and more cost effective.
Network Rail has been exploring opportunities for collaboration in specific areas with Strukton; it builds on work under Innovation Programme 3 (IP3) of the Shift2Rail European partnership, which addresses cost efficient, sustainable and reliable high capacity infrastructure.
By signing the MoU, there are greater opportunities for Network Rail and Strukton to work together to develop and transfer technologies into new operating environments over the five-year CP6 period.
Ali Smith, senior programme manager for Network Rail’s R&D Portfolio, commented: “We have set an ambitious programme for research and development over the next five years and are determined to use this portfolio to find new and innovative ways to deliver a better railway for passengers and freight users.
“Our success relies on working with many organisations, particularly where all parties are contributing to joint development.”
Technology is more important than ever given the growing challenges faced in maintaining and upgrading the railway; the network is ageing and demands are greater, with passenger numbers continuing to rise.
Added to the fact that there are more frequent incidents of extreme weather, these factors mean technology is required on the railway more quickly to address challenges and give passengers a more reliable and resilient railway.
The R&D portfolio is part of the five-year control period which will see more money spent on the railway than ever before.