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Rail industry breakthrough technology Repoint wins IET Innovation Award

Repoint, a radical new track switch product developed by Loughborough University’s Control Systems Group, has won a prestigious IET Innovation Award in recognition of its potential to support increased levels of day-to-day rail traffic across the network.

The patented technology triumphed over a quality field of nominations including Cambridge University and Heathrow Airport, to win the Transport Category in last night’s awards ceremony hosted by TV presenter Rob Bell at The Brewery, London.

Repoint was developed in response to the rail industry’s independent body RSSB’s call for new ways to increase network capacity. It introduces the concept of using several actuators to operate the same points, meaning that in the event of a single failure the remaining actuators continue to function safely. With this additional redundancy built into each machine, rail traffic can still pass and remedial maintenance can be scheduled without causing immediate disruption to services.

The IET Innovation Award marks the conclusion of a highly successful year for Repoint, culminating in the announcement in October that a consortium led by Ricardo Rail will develop the first full-scale Repoint for integration with London Underground infrastructure in early 2018.

Repoint’s innovative solution is globally significant. The UK alone has over 20,000 switch and crossing units and, despite representing only 5% of network mileage, they account for over 15% of the track maintenance budget. The Loughborough team’s longer-term aim is to work with partners around the world to develop and manufacture Repoint systems appropriate to local needs and regulation.

Professor Roger Dixon, academic lead of Repoint, stated:

"The IET Innovation Award is invaluable recognition for Repoint, which has progressed swiftly through key commercial milestones with support from the Impact Acceleration Account, Higher Education Innovation Fund and RSSB. With RSSB’s continued support and with industry partners including Transport for London and Ricardo Rail, we aim to deliver real, tangible benefits to the future of the rail industry.”

IET President Jeremy Watson CBE, said:

“Our Innovation Awards put the achievements of the incredible inventors who work in engineering and technology around the world into the spotlight and play a critical role in helping them further their endeavors.

“Innovation is an essential cornerstone for the growth of the global economy and raising the standard of living in all communities. It is a key differentiator that makes companies and projects successful and, in keeping with the IET’s mission to inspire excellence in engineering and technology, we are immensely proud to recognise, celebrate and show our support for these exceptional achievements.”

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 16/148

The IET Innovation Awards 2016 celebrate the very best innovations from both industry and academia, sharing landmark work and developments taking place across many important areas of science, engineering and technology, all over the world. There are 15 categories within the awards spanning the length, breadth and depth of engineering and each of them is judged by a panel of individual, impartial experts in each field that every categories cover.

Repoint is a breakthrough technology to enable significantly increased capacity and reliability on the rail network, without the need for new infrastructure. It has been developed by Loughborough University’s Control Systems Research Group, with the support of EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account, HEFCE Higher Education Innovation Fund, in partnership with the rail industry.

Loughborough University is equipped with a live in-house broadcast unit via the Globelynx network. To arrange an interview with one of our experts please contact the press office on 01509 223491. Bookings can be made online via www.globelynx.com

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named the best in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey. Loughborough was ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2017 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2017 and was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017, and University of the Year in the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2015.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In September 2015 the University opened an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.

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