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Automated design a game-changer for the railway

Automated design a game-changer for the railway

2 April 2019

Costain has won a collaborative research and development competition grant to work alongside Network Rail to help develop the best approach to implementing Rail Automated Infrastructure Design (R:AID).

The grant is offered by Network Rail through a competition delivered by the Government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. Costain won the grant, with other projects led by Graffica, PEAN Technologies and Plume Rail.

Costain (along with our partners Bryden Wood Technology Limited) will be working alongside the other winners to help Network Rail explore the potential of smart technology that will change the way they build and maintain Britain’s railway and will ultimately improve the service for Network Rail’s passengers and freight customers.

Helen Simms, Costain’s consultancy capability director said “This is a great opportunity for us to work with Network Rail to demonstrate our forward thinking and practical approach to automated design based on our extensive project delivery experience in working in the rail sector.  I am really pleased that the hard work of our team in bidding this work has paid off and that we have secured this amazing opportunity with Network Rail and Innovate UK.”

The technology, which Network Rail aims to implement for the first time in 2020, has the potential to shorten the amount of time it takes to design a route or piece of infrastructure from several months to just several days. It will automatically design elements of the railway such as track, power supply, signalling systems and bridges, by bringing together various sources of data used by railway design teams to run through all the possible outcomes and find the safest and most efficient design.

Atish Chauhan, a project manager at Network Rail said “Using automated design will help Network Rail with producing better designs faster and support our long-term service planning by allowing better assumptions about future infrastructure and associated changes to services.”

Kelvin Davies, innovation lead for Rail at Innovate UK said “It is great to see major industry players such as Costain working alongside SMEs in responding to this Network Rail funding opportunity. By bringing together firms large and small, we can maximise the potential for innovation and strengthen the supply chain. We look forward to seeing the benefits offered to Network Rail in developing new and innovative capability for automated infrastructure design”.