Innovative projects for improving operational performance set for funding

RSSB is delighted to announce four of the winners of its Train Operator Competition to find innovative solutions for improving railway operational performance.

​The Train Operator Competition (TOC’17), funded by RSSB, is designed to encourage greater collaboration between two or more railway undertakings and/or rolling stock leasing companies and suppliers.

The priority challenge areas this year included operations timed to the second, minimal disruption to train services and energy optimisation, however, entries were not limited to these themes.

The winners can now move their projects into the delivery phase.

The selected projects include software to optimise services for passengers, a digital solution to remove the need for track-based equipment and microwave technology for combating low adhesion conditions.

The final winner is to be announced.

Full list of projects:

Trainserv – led by Cogitare

Trainserv is about using big data and simulation to help improve and catch-up with what is happening in other industries. The project is to improve software through a cross-industry approach to optimise the railway and services for passengers. Adding functionality to DRIVE performance measurement software to measure passenger lateness (not just train lateness) and simulate ideas to improve from the passenger’s perspective.

The Project is in partnership with c2c and Network Rail who are using the existing DRIVE software and functionality delivered with the project to optimise the timetable, operations and infrastructure on the c2c railway for passengers and UCL who are helping develop algorithms to model passenger boarding and alighting times.

RailLoc – led by Machines with Vision

Machines with Vision is developing RailLoc, a real-time, centimetre-precision, low-cost train localisation technology that removes the need for track-based equipment. Machines with Vision is working collaboratively with Network Rail, Icomera and Truvin Analytics to demonstrate the technology in a live, operational setting showcasing the benefits for infrastructure managers and train operating companies.

Accurate knowledge of train position (localisation) has many benefits for the rail industry, reducing costs by enabling efficient maintenance of the tracks to reduce disruption, increase capacity and improve performance by running trains closer together, allowing services to be timed to the second. Train localisation traditionally uses circuits with balises built into the track to determine the occupancy of a section of track. But this approach only provides relatively coarse positional information and the maintenance of track based equipment is expensive, disruptive and hazardous.

ADS (Adhesion Digital Solution) – led by 3Squared

ADS (Adhesion Digital Solution) is a comprehensive digital solution for the management, co-ordination and dissemination of real-time adhesion information. The solution brings together the expert data from the Met Office together with crowd sourced data from operators to provide the industry with the defacto adhesion management solution.

ADS will provide operators and drivers with detailed route adhesion insight to help them make more informed decisions on train regulation that will ultimately reduce the likelihood of incidents and help reduce risk.

Plasma Track Treatment 3rd Layer Research – led by Imagination Factory

The proposed technology, Low Speed Rail-Road Track Treatment System, utilizes microwave energy to return the track to dry/clean or summer conditions. The programme of work will develop an understanding of the effect this technology has in low adhesion conditions and will include visits to Network Rail Wales Routes for on-track testing in 2018 and 2019 autumnal seasons.

Predictable and optimized braking on the UK rail network will benefit all users by enabling more reliable timetabling and increased capacity through closer running. The problems with autumnal timetables and delays are caused by moisture and vegetation on the railway track.

The Low Speed Rail-Road Track Treatment System will offer an alternative to manual cleaning. The Imagination Factory is working collaboratively with Network Rail Wales, Knorr Bremse and the National Physics Laboratory.

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