Transport for Wales (TfW) has launched a start-up accelerator programme for the development of new product and services for the rail industry.

The 12 week incubation programme, based in Newport, Wales, will involve tech entrepreneurs and start-ups who will design products for solving a key challenge confronting the rail industry.

Following the completion of the programme, the participants will present their innovations to stakeholders and decision-makers from TfW Rail.

The winning groups will be given a contract to develop their solution, which will be introduced to Wales and Borders rail network operated by KeolisAmey.

Keolis UK CEO Alistair Gordon said: “Transport for Wales’ Lab programme will help to showcase the best of Welsh start-up talent while also finding new solutions to improve key aspects of both the physical and digital passenger experience.

“It’s all part of our commitment to working with TfW to ensure Wales’ new rail network is truly first-class and underpinned by the latest innovations in technology.

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“But the benefits of this programme could also be felt by passengers further afield than Wales. As global leaders in shared mobility, operating public transport networks on behalf of 300 transport authorities and three billion passengers worldwide, developing and adopting innovative ways of improving the passenger experience is key to our success.”

Last week, TfW revealed a £194m ($241m) investment plan to upgrade 247 railway stations.

As per the plan, TfW will upgrade shelters, install CCTV, construct cycle storage and improve passenger information, as well as provide free Wi-Fi at all stations in the next 15 years.

The Station Improvement Vision programme will bring in new retail facilities, develop community spaces at stations and businesses opportunities for local firms.

Earlier this month, TfW received the first Class 170 Turbostar train from UK-based train operating company Greater Anglia.

In July, TfW commenced works to build a £100m rail depot to support South Wales Metro operations.

Located at Taff’s Well, the rail depot will offer tram-train maintenance and stabling services. The site will accommodate and maintain new metro vehicles, which will enter services from 2022.