New funding for innovative work on the UK’s rail network has been allocated to help them become more efficient, greener and cleaner.
The £7.8m allocation will be shared between a number of projects to help achieve this ultimate objective.
As part of the announcement from Innovate UK and the Department for Transport, it outlines how drones could play a central role in the work.
It details how drones being used to inspect railway infrastructure along with hydrogen trains and a sound bending wall to cut noise pollution are among 24 winning projects in the third round of the First of a Kind competition.
Commenting, rail minister, Andrew Jones, said: “The First of a Kind competition has consistently produced truly innovative projects developed for the benefit of passengers, helping to drive forward a greener, cleaner and more efficient rail network. This government is also investing £48 billion to modernise our rail network over the next 5 years, ensuring people have the safe, frequent and punctual journeys they deserve.”
He continued: “Among the successful projects is 4Silence’s plan to develop a noise-reducing wall that works by diffracting sound waves from passing trains upwards. This makes it as effective as a barrier 3 times its height.
“Another scheme being supported is Amey VTOL’s development of a drone system that could carry out track inspections from the skies. This would avoid the need for people to set foot on railway infrastructure.
The first round of First of a Kind was launched in 2017 and saw 10 projects win a share of £3.5 million to develop ideas to improve passenger experience and demonstrate tomorrow’s trains.
The second round focused on schemes aimed at cutting the carbon footprint on the UK’s railways and enhancing stations for passengers. This saw another 10 projects offered a share of £3.5 million.