HS2 to work with academia to promote innovation

Using augmented reality to explain the layout of HS2's new Old Oak Common station.

HS2 and the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) have signed an agreement that will enable the company building Britain’s new high-speed rail network to access world-leading research capabilities, knowledge and facilities.

The agreement will enable HS2 to be at the forefront of innovation in the rail sector and help accelerate new technologies and products from research into market applications globally.

Alongside the “Three Cs” – increasing Capacity on the rail network, offering greater Connectivity around Britain, and creating a low-Carbon transport alternative – building HS2 will also show off the very best of British skills, innovation and engineering, and this partnership will be a major part of that. 

Under the agreement, the University of Birmingham will coordinate UKRRIN’s activities providing  support for HS2 from UKRRIN’s three academic centres of excellence – Digital Systems (led by the University of Birmingham), Infrastructure (led by the University of Southampton) and Rolling Stock (led by the University of Huddersfield).

Howard Mitchell, HS2.

Howard Mitchell, HS2’s head of innovation, who signed the agreement with UKRRIN, said: “HS2 is a major opportunity for British academia and UK plc to come together and meet the challenge of delivering what is a huge investment in the country’s future.

“The programme’s scale and longevity create the right conditions to develop solutions for High Speed 2 and also the wider rail industry – both of which are crucial in helping Britain to decarbonise.”

The first project to be conducted under the new agreement will use simulation models to improve understanding of the performance of expansion joints used on high-speed rails. It will be led by the University of Birmingham.

Prof Clive Roberts, BCRRE.

Professor Clive Roberts, director of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE), said: “BCRRE works very closely with our industry partners to develop and deploy world-leading technologies onto the railway. 

“High speed rail is a vital part of the future of rail innovation in the UK and we’re delighted to be joining forces with HS2 to play our part in that future.”

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