Network Rail to aid 11 FOAK programme winners
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Network Rail to aid 11 FOAK programme winners

09 Jul 2020

UK infrastructure manager Network Rail has announced that it will support 11 projects out of the 25 winners of the First of a Kind (FOAK) Programme.

Network Rail to aid 11 FOAK programme winners
London Bridge Comms Room. Credit: Network Rail.

UK infrastructure manager Network Rail has announced that it will support 11 projects out of the 25 winners of the First of a Kind (FOAK) Programme.

Last month, UK Department for Transport partnered with Innovate UK and awarded grants worth £9.4m to 25 projects in the 2020 FOAK competition.

The projects selected aim to offer an efficient railway transport for commuters and freight users.

The projects that aid the Research and Development (R&D) Portfolio of Network Rail include; ‘Demonstrating low-cost 10Gb+ connectivity for the railway’, ‘Creating a novel and cost-effective composite footbridge for use on the railway’ and ‘Improving resilience through a surface water flooding decision support system’.

The projects ‘Tunnel and station monitoring using railway optical detection to identify obstructions’ and ‘Integrated optical fibre sensing to optimise rail switches & crossings maintenance’ are also part of the R&D portfolio.

Network Rail is also partnering with Innovate UK to run competitions that use the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) approach.

In this approach, innovators can participate to receive a funding share to solve a challenge.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The winners of this year’s FOAK competition will support better, more environmentally friendly journeys.

“Crucially, these pioneering projects will also ensure that passengers have a more efficient, reliable and responsive railway, making journeys simpler and easier.”

Network Rail safety, security and analytics project manager Danielle Stephenson said: “As a new member of the R&D team, I have been blown away with the excellent ideas and solutions that the companies have come up with so far.

“I am looking forward to seeing them implemented in a live station environment in September.”

The UK’s first hydrogen train, HydroFLEX, received a £400,000 grant from the FOAK Programme.