New rail testing scheme launched

The Quinton Rail Technology Centre.

West Midlands businesses are being offered subsidised access to extensive rail test and trail facilities in a bid to encourage railway innovation.

The University of Birmingham has collaborated with Quinton Rail Technology Centre (QRTC) to offer access to the UK’s only privately owned and independent outdoor rail testing and trialling site. Eligible companies need to be part of the free DIGI-RAIL programme run by the University of Birmingham, which assists local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing products, processes and services for the rail sector.

Al-Amin Dabo, Business Development Manager for DIGI-RAIL at the University of Birmingham said, “This is an important initiative that will really help local businesses to take their products to the next stage and bring them ever closer to market application. We are committed to supporting SMEs in rail and we are delighted that QRTC is working with us to help create new opportunities in the supply chain.

“We encourage local SMEs who have an interest in the rail sector to contact us to discuss how DIGI-RAIL may be able to support their business going forward.”

Based in Warwickshire, QRTC has the only looped test track in the UK and is used extensively for reliability, mileage accumulation testing and trialling as well as product development.

Colin Flack, Director, QRTC, said “We are very proud of the fact that our work over the years to develop the testing and trials facilities has led to some ground-breaking products being developed particularly by SMEs that otherwise would not have seen the light of day. We are delighted to be partnering with University of Birmingham again and we look forward to helping make ideas a reality.”

DIGI-RAIL is an ERDF part-funded project which aims to help solve challenges within the railway sector and to access the increasing number of digital rail commercial and research opportunities that currently exist in the UK and internationally.

The programme provides long-term, free innovation support to eligible SMEs specifically within the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) areas, on developing digital products and services for the rail industry.

Robert Hopkin, Chair of the Test Facilities Steering Group, said, “I welcome this generous offer by QRTC to provide access to its testing facilities at reduced cost to the DIGI-RAIL community.  I look forward to hearing about the progress of these DIGI-RAIL projects once their testing regimes have been completed.”  

For more details please email Al-Amin Dabo via a.a.dabo@bham.ac.uk or call 0121 414 8540.