Network Rail to work with universities

Posted on 10 Oct 2019 and read 535 times
Network Rail to work with universities Passengers are set to benefit from a railway that can cope better with extreme weather and increased demand, after Network Rail pledged to commit millions of pounds to working with universities to boost R&D.

The announcement came as chief executive Andrew Haines opened the National Infrastructure Laboratory at the University of Southampton at the end of September.

He said the company wants to get innovation from idea to track much more quickly, to give passengers a more reliable and resilient railway.

He said: “We know that — above all — passengers want a reliable railway and to be looked after when things don’t go to plan.

"Our railway is growing, but it is congested and ageing; we are also dealing with more frequent incidents of extreme weather.

"We quickly need ideas and technology to help us meet these challenges.

Universities are a critical source of innovation for the rail infrastructure of the future, and a stronger relationship allows us to come up with faster and better solutions than we could ever do without their support.”

The National Infrastructure Laboratory (NIL) at the University of Southampton provides major new facilities, including: a large structures-testing lab that can (in just a few days) test how rail tracks cope with hundreds of thousands of trains; and a geotechnical centrifuge that enables the whole-life service of components to be simulated in a matter of hours.

Mr Haines added: “The laboratory will increase our ability to keep trains running in the face of extreme weather, reduce infrastructure failures and down-time for repairs, and reduce the cost to the taxpayer of maintenance.

"It will also make it easier to test new ideas, realistically test the demands of heavy rail use, and speed up the delivery of essential improvements.”

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