British Steel helps to launch new £92m rail innovation partnership

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 26 Feb 2018

The Scunthorpe-based British Steel company has helped to launch a new £92 million scheme aimed at enhancing the UK's reputation as a global centre for railway excellence.

Representatives from the company joined others in the domestic rail sector for the launch of the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network at the Houses of Parliament.

The partnership has been created to accelerate research, innovation and development in new railway technologies, enabling products and services to be brought to market more quickly and efficiently.

Peter Smith, British Steel’s managing director for rail, said: "This is a hugely significant and exciting development for this country’s rail industry.

"The network is a ground-breaking partnership between the rail industry and eight universities and will deliver four world class centres of excellence covering rolling stock, infrastructure, digital systems and testing and trialling.

Read more: Talks over £100 million cash boost for Scunthorpe's British Steel

"We're delighted to be involved in this project and working with our partners to ensure we further enhance this country’s global reputation for excellence and innovation in rail transport."

The network was established after a successful £28 million bid to the Higher Education Funding Council for England to establish the centres of excellence, which will be themed on digital systems, infrastructure, rolling stock and testing.

British Steel managing director for rail Peter Smith (right), pictured with John Austin, its key account manager (Rail). The company has joined others to help launch the new UK Rail Research and Innovation Network

It is backed by a commitment from the UK rail industry, including British Steel, to invest more than £60 million in research, development and innovation activities at the centres over the next 10 years.

Jo Binstead, head of innovation at Siemens Rail Systems and chair of the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network steering group, said: "The launch of UKRRIN marks a ground-breaking partnership for innovation in UK rail and a step change in industrial research investment.

"By bringing together leading UK universities and industry, we can ensure that developments being made through academic research can be commercialised to deliver transformative changes across our railway network."

Read more: British Steel boss calls for quick Government support as he addresses national conference

Transport Minister Jo Johnson, who attended the launch of the network, said: "We are investing in the biggest modernisation programme of our railways since Victorian times, delivering what passengers want – more frequent trains and quicker and more comfortable journeys.

"In doing so, we are utilising a range of new technologies across the network and Britain is now at the cutting edge of digital signalling, high speed transport and railway infrastructure.

"New centres of excellence, bringing together experts, universities and the wider rail industry will be essential in achieving our ambition to get all diesel-only trains off the track by 2040 as well as delivering the advanced railway network that passengers deserve."



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