These are exciting times for railways. Society relies on railway systems more than ever before: they have become integral to how people live and economies grow in the 21st Century. With an estimated £50bn being put into the sector, investment in railways has never been higher. 25,000 jobs are anticipated to be generated, and as well as more capacity, the travelling public will experience reduced journey times.

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The limitations

Despite these significant investments in infrastructure, many of the technologies being installed, particularly in the command, control and communications domain, are notably outdated, often to the point of obsolescence even before installation. On a day-to-day basis, the British railway system struggles as a result of high utilisation, aged infrastructure and the complication of interfacing many different generations of systems. As railways age they begin to exhibit overcrowding, poor reliability and increased complexity.

The future of railways

The British railway industry has, with the support of the Departments for Transport and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, set out clear strategies for making the UK a global leader in railway innovation, technology development and roll-out. This will not only further increase the quality of the British railway system for the travelling public, but also allow the UK supply chain to significantly increase its export market.

Working with industry, we are innovating to bring about transformational change in railway technology around the world. We are delivering a step change in railway systems capability and are securing a world-leading position in the sector. We are delivering jobs, growth and inward investment nationally and internationally. At the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, we are having impact across the globe to enhance the future success of railways as a safe, fast, high capacity and environmentally and customer friendly transport mode.

Professor Anson Jack

Professor Anson Jack

Director of the Birmingham International Railway Academy (BIRA) and Professor of International Railway Benchmarking


Are we nearly there yet?

Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE)

BCRRE Research Impact

BCRRE and SMRT Institute sign collaborative agreement

Educational partnership

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