Reducing train delays.

Our innovative rail track switching technology has the potential to improve reliability and safety, reduce maintenance costs, and boost capacity on rail networks.

We have brought a 180-year old feature of Britain’s railways into the 21st century with a redesigned track switch that is expected to significantly reduce repair costs and delays.

There are approximately 10 to 15 switch failures a day, according to figures from Network Rail. These switch failures cost Network Rail more than £120 million-a-year and account for more than 3,800,000 minutes (63,300 hours) of delays.

Current track switches slide the rails, but any malfunction means the track has to be closed, and timetables suspended, until repairs have been made. The new Repoint switch uses three motors to lift and shift the rails from left to right to change the direction of an oncoming train.

Between 85% to 90% of points failure related cancellations could have been prevented last year if Repoint switches were in use.

Dr Chris Ward Senior Lecturer in Control Systems Engineering

The technology was unveiled this year to guests from the rail industry, including representatives from Network Rail, the Department for Transport and Transport for London.

With the support of the RSSB (Rail Safety and Standards Board) and the Government, the technology has been demonstrated in a working environment – significantly beyond where universities normally work.

We are now looking to engage with commercial partners to ensure deployment of the technology on the UK and international rail networks.

Meet the Game Changers

chris ward

Dr Christopher Ward

Senior Lecturer in Control Systems Engineering

precious kaijuka

Precious Kaijuka

PhD Research Student