Rail

Rail is essential to the economic, social and environmental health and growth of the UK, supporting essential travel, commuters, social and leisure travel, healthcare journeys and travel for education purposes. The rail network is the UK’s travel backbone, connecting rural communities to urban areas and facilitating opportunities for all.

The UK rail industry contributes £36bn to the UK economy annually, directly employing 115,000 people and supporting another 250,000 through its supply chain. There were 1,718 billion journeys on the National Rail network in 2016, making it the fifth most used in the world.

As the sector continues to grow, passenger satisfaction, safety, capacity, efficiency, sustainability, digitisation and inclusion are crucial factors to ensuring a resilient rail network.

Innovate UK KTN’s rail team works with major stakeholders within rail to identify key industry challenges, then uses our wider network to connect solution holders (including SMEs, academics and other businesses) to industry to address these needs. We also provide support through events, guidance on grant applications and other networking opportunities.

Rail and Covid-19

Covid-19 has had a major impact on the UK and around the world. Within rail, this has created a number of challenges, and has significantly impacted the industry. UK companies have risen to meet these challenges, providing innovative products and services to tackle a range of needs. Find out how KTN has worked with Innovate UK to promote some examples of how UK innovators can contribute to the rebuilding and growth of rail in the UK and around the world.

The wider transport team works to connect innovations across transport modes, highlighting new opportunities, and projecting your insights in a crowded marketplace.

First of a Kind: Rail Innovation Directory

First of a Kind (FOAK) is funded through the SBRI process to develop demonstrators of innovative solutions to rail challenges. Find out more about SBRI here.

This booklet is a showcase of projects funded through the First of a Kind and Accelerating Innovation in Rail competitions from 2017-2020, and aims to highlight innovative technologies which have been successfully demonstrated, for potential customers within the UK rail sector.

Click here to download the directory.

First of a Kind: video case studies

Focusing on ‘Passenger Experience’, ‘Safety and Performance’ and ‘Sustainability’, these videos are a spotlight on some of the companies funded by the SBRI First of a Kind rail innovation competitions.

Daisy Chapman-Chamberlain

Our Expert

Daisy Chapman-Chamberlain

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Related Opportunities

Freight Innovation Fund Accelerator

Opens: 09/01/2023 Closes: 05/02/2023

Up to 12 SMEs will be selected to join a 6-month programme with up to £150,000 of funding to trial their freight solutions.

More Information

Transport Pathfinder 2023

Opens: 01/01/2023 Closes: 27/02/2023

Do you have an inspirational, life-enhancing idea, prototype, or plan to reimagine how transport options in the UK can better support a rapidly ageing population to stay connected, active, and independent for longer?

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Innovation Exchange challenge: Accessible Boarding Ramps For Trains

Opens: 23/01/2023 Closes: 27/02/2023

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 us…

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Local Net Zero Targets & Behaviour Change
Recorded: 1st February 2023

Local Net Zero Targets & Behaviour Change

Innovate UK KTN and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) present the third webinar of their new ‘Behaviour change & business series’ focusing on behaviour change and its applications for Local Authorities to meet Net Zero. In this recording, you will hear from experts exploring what motivates people to move towards Net Zero and who are the, often overlooked, “middle actors” who can help Places to meet Net Zero.

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Related News

First of a Kind 2022 Winners Announced

14/11/2022

First of a Kind 2022 Winners Announced

The Department for Transport and Innovate UK are delighted to announce the first set of winners for the First of Kind (FOAK) 2022 competition. Winners will receive funding to help develop novel technology which improves rail freight services and lowers carbon emissions from trains.

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Bristol Temple Meads to become testbed for passenger tech

18/10/2022

Bristol Temple Meads to become testbed for passenger tech

A multi-million pound programme will turn Bristol Temple Meads into the UK’s first ‘Station Innovation Zone’, trialling new technologies designed to upgrade passengers’ experience.

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