Funding worth £3million has been announced for nine winning proposals to reduce the cost of electrification schemes by avoiding the need to reconstruct bridges and tunnels.
The nine successful proposals to trial innovative technology-enabled solutions are being funded as part of a FutureRailway competition managed by RSSB, and in partnership with Network Rail and the Department for Transport.
This is one of a series of competitions to promote innovation within the rail industry and enable the delivery of the Rail Technical Strategy (RTS), aiming to reduce the cost and carbon, but increase the capacity and customer satisfaction in the future railway in Britain.
The solutions to avoid reconstruction include: new design tools, innovative ways to reduce the construction depth of Overhead Line Electrification Equipment (OLE), and new track lowering and bridge jacking techniques.
Competition winners were Balfour Beatty, DGauge, Electren, Freyssinet, IDOM, PCAT Consortium, Tata Steel, TRL and URS. Feasibility studies will run until January 2015 after which finalists will be chosen to proceed to the demonstrator phase.
David Clarke, Director of FutureRailway, commented:
“Altering and reconstructing bridges and tunnels is roughly 25% of the cost of electrification and therefore we saw this as an area worth exploring for new cost reduction opportunities. The conventional wisdom was that everything worth trying had already been tried. It is really pleasing that we are announcing the start of the feasibility studies on nine very credible but novel ideas from innovative suppliers. We hope this will in time lead to the railway being able to deliver more electrification with the funding available.”
Further information on this competition can be found on www.futurerailway.org.