Research, development and innovation

We have been working together for hundreds of years to create the railway – collaborating, competing and innovating to transform how is it is used by our people and passengers.

Rail tracks with futuristic graphic overlay

In doing so, we have contributed to creating a world where pioneers are welcome and now we want to see everyone get involved in innovation.

To meet the challenges and opportunities of the future, we have created the R&D portfolio – 7 programmes working in partnership with rail and other industries, to look for opportunities to innovate on the railway. Find out more about our collaborations below.

Through this partnership, we look at how research, development and technology can make train travel more comfortable, accessible, reliable and affordable. You can find out more about our strategy below.

Investing in the future

Over the last few years, Network Rail has worked to make it easier for other organisations to invest and build on the railway. We’ve opened up our standards to challenge, introduced innovative procurement models for innovation and put in place support for suppliers. We have dedicated test facilities and a Product Acceptance team to make sure products are safe and fit for use on or around  the railway.

Delivering innovation

From Shift2Rail, the biggest ever collaborative European investment in rail R&D, to accelerated innovation, our industry has transformed over the past 15 years thanks to focused programmes made possible by Research & Development (R&D) investments from Network Rail. All helping to improve services and asset management costs, and ultimately providing a better experience for our passengers and freight users. Read some examples of implemented projects and the difference they have made to the railway.

But we’re not finished yet, if you want to find out more about what we have already done or have planned for the future, please contact us.

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