Freight Terminals of the Future





The Rail Forum is delighted to launch their fourth SME Challenge as part of the Rail Supply Group’s Rail Sector Deal Midlands Pilots.

The SME Challenges are designed to provide opportunities for SMEs to work collaboratively to develop and offer solutions to real needs identified by different rail freight clients, including Tarmac, across the industry. All SME Challenges are open to members and non-members.

This fourth challenge will focus on Freight Terminals of the Future. The challenge was formally launched at an online event on 20th April.

The project is a collaboration between a number of businesses: Tarmac, DB Cargo, Freightliner, Ermewa, GB Railfreight and is supported by the University of Derby, Rail Freight Group and the Rail Forum.

The scope is far reaching with the focus on working smarter, not harder. Opportunities will include:

  • Decarbonisation
  • Automation
  • Digitalisation

Key dates for your diary:

For those seeking support from the FOCs for the FOAK funding competition:

  • Wednesday 20th April – Launch event
  • Wednesday 4th May – Submission deadline
  • Wednesday 11th May – SMEs notified if successful for Dragons Den presentation
  • Thursday 26th May – Dragons Den presentations (online)
  • Wednesday 8th June – Closing date for FOAK applications

For those who are not seeking support for the FOAK funding competition:

  • Wednesday 20th April – Launch event
  • Wednesday 18th May – Submission deadline
  • Wednesday 25th May – SMEs notified if successful for Dragons Den presentation
  • Wednesday 15th June – Dragons Den presentations (online)
  • Wednesday 22nd June – SMEs advised on those ideas/solutions they wish to take forward

For those wanting to submit ideas/solutions to the challenge they will need to download and complete the following document:

Terminal of the Future_ submission

To find out more about the challenge and to get involved please contact

Launch event slides can be found here Terminals of the Future Presentation

Note that the slides do not contain the videos.  These can be found below:

Video 1 – Tarmac

Video 2 – Tarmac

Video 3 – Daisy Chapman-Chamberlain, KTN / InnovateUK

**NEWS UPDATE** The latest “First of a Kind (FOAK)” funding competition was announced on the 12th April which encourages companies and organisations to apply for funding to provide proof of concept. A year ago four of the projects presented at our second SME Challenge were successful in obtaining FOAK funding totaling £1.6m. The closing date for the latest FOAK funding competition is 8th June and the key dates (see below) for this latest challenge will enable those companies with innovative ideas/solutions to seek the support from the freight operators to help with their funding applications. A parallel process will run for those that have existing solutions or are not wanting to seek FOAK funding.