Train on the tracks choo choo

Transport technology from Loughborough University will shape the future of Britain’s railways as part of a £92 million innovation venture

Loughborough University will draw upon its award-winning transport systems research when it joins a £92 million academia and industry partnership aimed at developing the future of British railways.

Roger Dixon

Professor Roger Dixon

Eight universities will form three centres of excellence in the collaborative nationwide scheme known as the UK Railway Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN).

Their focus will be on improving important aspects of the industry such digital integration, cyber security, energy management and rail infrastructure.

Working with the consortium are 17 organisations linked with the rail sector including Network Rail, HS2 Ltd, Transport for London, British Steel and Transport for London.

Overseeing Loughborough’s involvement is Professor Roger Dixon, Head of the Control Systems Research Group at the University.

He said: “It’s fantastic that we’re involved, and great that we’re able to bring our unique knowledge and expertise in control system science and engineering to the consortium.”

The three centres of excellence formed of the seven HE institutions are:

  • Digital Systems - located at the University of Birmingham. It will focus on railway control and simulation, data integration and cybersecurity, condition monitoring and sensing, and improved methods for technology introduction. 
  • Rolling Stock - led by the University of Huddersfield in collaboration with the University of Newcastle and Loughborough University. It will focus on high value rolling stock systems, whole life asset optimisation and through-life management, and energy management.
  • Infrastructure - led by the University of Southampton in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, Loughborough University, University of Nottingham and Heriot Watt University.

The project is being funded by UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (RPIF), which gave £28.1 million to the University of Birmingham, which is leading the scheme.

A further £64 million was invested by 17 industrial partners including Alstom, Siemens and Bombardier Transportation.

The UKRRIN will support the Government’s ambition to be a leading player in the global rail market.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:"The UK's world-renowned leadership in science, research and innovation is helping to solve a range of national and global challenges, and the breadth of the projects funded today means this will continue.

"Through our Industrial Strategy and £4.7 billion investment for research and development, we're ensuring we capitalise on the great work taking place in universities across the UK and remain at the forefront of innovation."

Richard Hunter, UK Managing Director at Bombardier Transportation, said: “Bombardier Transportation is very pleased to be involved in UKRRIN.

“We believe this is a significant opportunity for the UK to develop and coordinate a network of world class facilities and capabilities to further support developments within the rail industry.”

Further information can be obtained from the UKRRIN website:



Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 17/94

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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, named the best university in the world to study sports-related subjects in the 2017 QS World University Rankings and top in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey.

Loughborough was ranked 6th in the Guardian University League Table 2018 and 10th in The UK Complete University Guide 2018 and was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017. It has been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework, which recognises institutions that deliver consistently outstanding teaching that is of the highest quality found in the UK.

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.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.