Innovation Exchange challenge: Accessible Boarding Ramps For Trains

The Innovation Exchange is working alongside South Western Railway (SWR), who are looking to engage innovators and innovative companies to design accessible boarding ramps for the platform-train interface on narrow-width platforms. It is essential that any solution is simple and safe for staff to use.

Opportunity Details


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Pitch opportunity, chance to pitch at a KTN-chaired session with large train operator representatives, potential to partner or collaborate with challenge lead in a R&D grant-funded competition to develop the solution further.

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South Western Railway are looking for a solution for deploying boarding ramps for the platform-train interface at two stations, Hamble and Bedhampton, as a result of narrow width platforms at these locations.

The new ramps will be stored on the platform and need to be deployable on the class 450, 444 and 458 train units and must meet the National Technical Specification Notice (NTSN – formerly PRM-TSI) regulations as below:

  • Width – capable of handling a mobility aid of 700mm
  • Hold 300kg of weight
  • Ideally the angle is less than 12.5 degrees
  • Be ‘securely located’ to the train (Britain has led with pins/lugs but this need not be the only solution)
  • Contrasting and non-slip surface
  • At the base of the ramp, there needs to be at least 1500mm of space between the base of the ramp and the platform fence.

It is worth considering the deployment of the ramps; ease for rail staff to deploy both in terms of weight, portability, and train performance. Creative solutions are welcomed as long as they comply with regulations.

South Western Railway are looking for a deployable solution as soon as possible. The standard cost for a traditional portable ramp is up to £1000 for production and installation on the station.

There is an opportunity to create a lighter, more durable ramp in the longer term.

The ramp must be easily deployable for all staff involved and must take into account weather conditions such as wind.

It would be beneficial for applicants to submit a preliminary design as part of their application.

Previous solutions have been unworkable due to:

  • Weight of the ramp to be deployed
  • The enlarged size of the ramp
  • The surface area creating a “sail” effect from low wind conditions upwards.

Rewards & Benefits

Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch to the Challenger.

The package may also include:

  • Pitch their solutions at a KTN-chaired session attended by representatives of the large train operator
  • Potential to partner with challenge lead in a R&D grant-funded competition to develop the solution further.
  • A potential business collaboration

For further technical, functional and operational requirements, see the Innovation Exchange site at the link below.


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