Loughborough University unveils breakthrough technology with potential to revolutionise the global rail industry
A failsafe track switch designed to eradicate a 200-year-old problem on the railway has been created by engineers at Loughborough University.
The breakthrough technology known as Repoint is a robust and reliable points mechanism, which will improve safety, reduce maintenance costs and boost capacity on the railways.
Supported by the UK Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), Repoint is the result of work carried out with industry experts into improved switches to override track switch failures which can lead to train derailment.
Using safety concepts derived from aerospace and the nuclear industry, Repoint corrects a failed switch through a patented arrangement of interlocking rail ends which incorporate a sliding arrangement similar to a breather switch. A lift and drop mechanism allows for expansion and provides an additional locking mechanism with virtually no friction losses.
The mechanism can also move the switch in fractions of a second compared to the current four seconds for conventional designs.
“Repoint is a robust alternative to conventional switches that breaks with 200 years of tradition to offer a change in design that is inherently failsafe and fit for a 21st century rail network,” he said.
“A standard switch takes around four seconds to move, during which time a train may have travelled a distance of 200 metres. Repoint’s ability to reduce this time to under a second improves rail capacity without the need to build new infrastructure. It also has the potential to deliver huge cost savings, and will result in a significant increase in reliability and safety to the rail industry worldwide.
“We are currently seeking development partners from around the world to work with us to roll out the patented technology across international rail networks.”
To find out more about Repoint, contact Colm Watling, IP Officer at Loughborough University, on 01509 222943 or email C.Q.Watling@lboro.ac.uk.
Notes for editors
Press release reference number: PR 15/168
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 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. It was 2nd in the 2015 THE Student Experience Survey and was named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.
In 2015 the University will open an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will offer postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.