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February 22, 2024

Rail Innovation Boost: £1M Investment Powers Electrification Breakthroughs

Rail Innovation Boost: £1M Investment Powers Electrification Breakthroughs

The UK government has allocated £1 million to Furrer+Frey GB, the British arm of the renowned Swiss railway engineering company. This funding is allocated for the creation of prototypes as part of the Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE) located in South Wales. The innovative projects are poised to redefine rail electrification, focusing on reducing costs, optimising designs, and enhancing sustainability.

Project 1: Optimising Electrification Inclines for Cost Reduction

The first project, known as the Cost-Reducing Dynamic Electrification System (CODES), aims to revolutionise electrification lines' inclines at critical points such as bridges, platforms, and level crossings. By optimising these inclines, the project aims to substantially reduce construction costs and expedite the electrification process on existing rail lines. The CODES initiative is a strategic move towards making rail electrification more efficient and cost-effective.

Project 2: Innovative Cantilevers for Sustainable Electrification

The second project is set to develop an innovative cantilever for rail electrification, utilising composite materials. The prototype mast produced under this project exhibited an impressive 75% reduction in embodied carbon compared to traditional masts, all while maintaining similar strength and durability properties. With the infusion of the new £1 million funding, Furrer+Frey GB aims to extend these sustainability benefits to the cantilevers holding wires above the railway. This expansion seeks to further reduce weight, embodied carbon, and overall costs associated with this crucial piece of electrification equipment.

The Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE)

The funding granted to Furrer+Frey GB is a testament to the importance of the Global Centre of Rail Excellence in fostering innovation within the rail industry. Situated in South Wales, the GCRE serves as a hub for pioneering projects aimed at elevating the efficiency, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness of rail infrastructure.

Driving Efficiency and Sustainability

These innovation projects represent a significant step forward in the quest to make rail electrification more sustainable and economical. By optimising inclines and introducing composite materials in cantilever design, Furrer+Frey GB aims to redefine industry standards, driving efficiency, reducing costs, and contributing to a more sustainable future for rail transportation.

The £1 million investment in Furrer+Frey GB's innovation projects at the Global Centre of Rail Excellence marks a crucial development in the evolution of rail electrification.

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