The UK Government has announced a $9.89m (£7.6m) investment to help transform rail travel with new advanced technology.

The investment forms part of this year’s ‘First of a Kind’ competition, which invites bids from companies specialising in innovative ways to upgrade railways.

This year’s competition, which will be in partnership with Innovate UK, is set to open officially to applicants on 20 April this year and will close on 8 June.

It will award up to $9.89m (£7.6m) in funding to projects with ‘cutting-edge’ ideas to transform rail travel for passengers and support decarbonisation.

Organisations of all sizes are being welcomed for projects, which offer more cost-effective, greener, and passenger focussed railway.

UK rail minister Wendy Morton said: “In partnership with Innovate UK, we have already invested £35.4 million into over 100 ground-breaking projects.

“We’ve seen cutting-edge technologies such as HydroFLEX developed, the first ever trial of a hydrogen-powered train on the UK mainline, and software improving accessibility, such as the Hearing Enhanced Audio Relay app.

“As part of our ‘Plan for Rail’, it’s key we continue breathing life into new ideas and supporting innovation and design to deliver greener rail journeys and transform rail travel for all passengers.”

The ‘First of a Kind’ competition is focusing on technologies, which help in boosting network performance and cost efficiency of the railway industry to provide more reliable railway for passengers and enhance rail freight.

The funds obtained from the competition have also enabled the testing and introduction of more than 100 projects to improve passengers’ rail experience and network accessibility.