Rail Innovation event round up

Posted on: 28/01/2020

500 delegates spent the day exploring 55 showcase exhibits, networking and listening to George Freeman MP’s views for the future of the industry

A showcase of cutting-edge innovation in the rail sector was attended by over 500 people eager to hear the Minister of State for the Future of Transport speak and to explore over 50 exhibits.

Michelle Carter, KTN’s Head of Transport, welcomes delegates to the Rail Innovation event

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Many of the exhibits were from projects supported by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Innovate UK through the Accelerating Innovation in Rail (AIiR) and SBRI First of a Kind (FOAK) investment programmes. Both of these calls were aimed at improving efficiencies, safety, passenger experience and the environmental impact of our railways.


This was an opportunity for delegates to see some of the most innovative technology in the rail sector, to network and to potentially find the next product or service for their organisation.


The ground-breaking technology featured in the projects has addressed areas such as low-cost/high-value rail, customer experience in stations, minimising disruption to services, intelligent trains, tomorrow’s stations, a greener railway, infrastructure resilience, operational resilience, freight and noise.


A full list of the exhibits can be found here.


George Freeman MP opened the event and emphasised how important innovation in the rail sector is and that building an ecosystem of sustainable transport is vital.¬† He acknowledged that too many passengers endure ‘intolerable travel conditions’ and that he, and his department, were committed to laying the foundations for a cleaner, greener 21st Century rail network.¬† Closing, he invited the audience to get in touch directly with him to help remove obstacles to implementing bold ideas.


The impact of the event is already being felt.  Some of the comments from delegates are below:

“From the event we have already been invited to present to two condition monitoring working groups and have arranged a meeting with a potential customer to scope further operational field trials.”

“The environment that you created for positive conversations to take place was great.”

“It was great to speak to 50+ companies about their exciting innovative ideas.”

“This was a superbly organised event with excellent opportunities for networking.”


As well as the exhibition, the next round of the SBRI Rail Demonstrations: First of a Kind 2020 was launched with a competition briefing.  The webcast and slides from the event are here along with links to the scope and the application process.  The competition closes on 4 March and a share of up to £9.4m is available to develop demonstrators for sustainability, customer experience, operations or maintenance.

Photo galleries are not available for content from the previous KTN website: we apologise for this.

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