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Innovative rail

Our Innovative Rail work, with academia, research councils and international organisations, will help deliver the Digital Railway. A better, safer railway.

At RSSB, we work with many partners towards an Innovative Rail system: the Digital Railway. Our R&D programme works with academia, research councils and international organisations. We will engage at different stages of the project lifecycle to deliver high-quality, multi-disciplinary research and innovation.

Our partners include:

  • All parts of the rail industry – infrastructure managers, passenger and freight train operators, rolling stock companies, suppliers, national bodies, associations and unions.
  • The academic community through our involvement in the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRINN) and our co-funded strategic partnership with The University of Huddersfield.
  • Research councils and other funding bodies – such as the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the main UK government agency for funding research and training in these areas.
  • International organisations – including SNCF (France), RTRI (Japan) and the International Railway Union.

Throughout CP6, we will improve our Horizon Scanning capabilities. We will share insight and grow awareness of new and emerging technologies and trends, and their potential impact on industry. Part of our work is to keep an eye on emerging enabling technologies that might bring benefit to rail.

Our R&D programme encourages new ideas from all corners. We will explore and assess new solutions as we strive for a better, safer railway. We coordinate with others including the Network Rail research programme and the UK Rail Research UKRRIN.

We have a key role in cross-industry efforts to collate, share and use data to inform understanding and decision making. One focus for us will be environmental data. As industry continues to reduce its environmental impacts and monitor results, we will develop the tools and processes needed to use this data to support business decisions. We will also help industry exploit the latest big data analysis techniques, including text mining and machine learning, which have the potential to significantly enhance decision making, reducing cost and risk.

We continue to play a key role in the development and introduction of new traction solutions. Our programme will investigate options for decarbonising traction engines and mitigating air quality impacts, including the technical, economic and commercial challenges in realising positive changes.

We have guidance for innovators new to the sector about the quirks of the rail environment.

Research and innovation have no value unless they deliver tangible benefits, so we will continue to provide advice and support to organisations to implement the findings of our work.

CP6 plan

To find out more about any of the issued discussed, download our full CP6 Strategic Business Plan (below), or the extract that just covers our Innovative Rail activities or watch the video below.

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