News and events


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.”

Press release Further reading and resources for the media