The first four finalists of Enabling Innovation Team’s (EIT) ‘Radical Train’ competition have received funding to allow them to develop and demonstrate the practicality of their proposals.
Of the eight finalists shortlisted in May, the first four successful applicants include Revolution VLR Consortium; another group consisting of Holdtrade, Transnet, Huddersfield University and HBA; a joint effort from Thales and NewRail; and an undisclosed firm.
The proposals were judged on their international market potential and scope for delivering new benefits for passengers, freight users, train operators, the environment and supply industry.
As well as encouraging novel approaches to re-thinking the basics of rolling stock, the ‘Radical Train’ challenge seeks proposals that will make a measurable step change in performance on UK railways.
Revolution VLR Consortium consists of TDI Europe, Unipart Rail, Warwick Manufacturing Group centre HVM Catapult, Trelleborg PPL, Allectra Lrd and GKN Land Systems. The consortium was selected for their low carbon, very-lightweight whole passenger railcar demonstrator, to facilitate low cost connectively of regional and rural areas.
Holdtrade, Transnet, Huddersfield University and HBA were shortlisted for their radical freight bogie concept. It is designed to increase payload, reduce wheel wear, maintenance and fuel/power consumption, while minimising access charges due to lower track forces and reduced rail wear for operators worldwide.
Third finalists Thales and NewRail were shortlisted for their active adhesion monitoring and management project (A2M2). Using thermal imaging technology, the A2M2 project seeks to demonstrate ability to monitor rail temperature and adhesion levels across the network, as well as increase safety by identifying potential low adhesion spots.
The fourth finalist was awarded the investment for emissions reduction and fuel efficiency technology.
The contracts will support more than £6m worth of innovation projects in the UK. EIT’s contribution will amount to nearly £2.5m and innovators will also invest a similar sum.
EIT has been set up by the UK rail industry under the Future Railway umbrella, on behalf of the cross-industry Technical Strategy Leadership Group (TSLG).