Furrer+Frey AG win a share of railway construction innovation funding

We are delighted that our concept of a dynamic electrification system was among 24 to win a share of the first phase of the £7.4m Department for Business and Trade competition ‘Railway Construction Innovation’ delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.

Our concept, supported by Network Rail, could save carbon and cut electrification costs by optimising designs to reduce the need for bridge lifts or line speed restrictions.

The dynamic testing track would allow us to create a real-world twin of a section of track and test out the electrification gradients. Cantilevers move to mimic gradients on a section of electrification. Electrification designers like us can supplement the more risk-averse computer simulation with real-world testing to optimise designs and make better design decisions.

Firstly, on new designs we can be more carbon and cost-efficient – we could test out whether a bridge would need lifting to accommodate electrification and fast trains. Second, on existing sections of track we could look to enhance capacity. We could look at sections of line where speeds are restricted by electrification equipment gradients – typically where a low footbridge is followed by a high-level crossing. We could test a twin of it and see whether speeds could be raised and open more capacity on existing lines.

The brilliant thing about the vision for GCRE is that we could do this at 125mph – a rare facility in western Europe.

The feasibility study will report this Summer, where we’ll learn if our concept is to be taken forward to the demonstration stage.

Thank you to Department for Business and Trade, Innovate UK and Global Centre Of Rail Excellence.

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