As new infrastructure and trains are built and existing rolling stock retrofitted, new technology could unlock greater efficiency. This is supported by the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail which highlights that pre-emptive maintenance could reduce costs and delays.
Similarly, the Rail Technical Strategy (‘Reliable and Easy to Maintain’ functional priority) proposes a vision where asset reliability and availability will be maximised by design, remote inspection, and targeted intervention with humans and machines working together. This could be enabled by condition-based inspection and maintenance, supported by robotics and artificial intelligence (AI).
In October 2021, RSSB’s R&D team hosted a webinar on ‘The future of train maintenance’. This event brought together industry and those with potential solutions, to explore the challenges and opportunities of using automation and robotics in passenger and freight depots.
Train servicing robot demonstration
Watch a demonstration of Brunel University’s train servicing robot. This work started as an RSSB-funded feasibility study and was developed to the demonstrator stage with support from Innovate UK.