Network Rail is a founding member of Shift2Rail and active in all six of its Innovation Programmes

Shift2Rail is a European technology, research and development collaboration programme funded jointly by its members and Horizon 2020, a European Commission research fund.

It seeks to accelerate delivery of the Rail Technical Strategy by working closely with European infrastructure managers and supply chain to jointly create solutions to benefit the rail industry across Europe and to support the European Union’s vision of a single European rail area.

Innovation programmes

The work conducted within the Shift2Rail framework is structured, first of all, around five asset-specific Innovation Programmes covering all the different structural (technical) and functional (process) subsystems of the rail system.

Find out more about the Shift2Rail Innovation Programmes

Our roles

We have a number of elected roles within Innovation Programme 3 – cost-efficient and reliable infrastructure – including as co-ordinator, with responsibility for the management of the overall budget, and leading two of the technical demonstrators: next generation switches and crossings, and next generation plain line track systems.

This gives Network Rail the ability to influence future technologies, processes and practices crucial to our business’ performance and future capabilities. 



The Roll2Rail project aims to develop key technologies and to remove already identified blocking points for radical innovation in the field of railway vehicles, as part of a longer term strategy to revolutionise rolling stock for the future. The results will contribute to increased operational reliability and the reduction of life cycle costs.

One of the precursor projects of Shift2Rail, Roll2Rail started in May 2015 and will contribute to Innovation Programme 1. All the results will be further developed at the end of the project, leading to demonstration in real vehicles or relevant environments in Shift2Rail.

There are 31 industry partners from across Europe involved in Roll2Rail, which has a budget of €16m and is due to finish in October 2017.


In2Rail is a precursor project of the Shift2Rail programme and sets the foundations for a resilient, consistent, cost-efficient, high-capacity European rail network by delivering important building blocks that unlock the innovation potential that exists in Shift2Rail. 

Innovative technologies will be explored and outputs embedded into a systems framework where infrastructure, information management, maintenance techniques, energy and engineering are integrated, optimised, shared and exploited.

In2Rail will pave the way for the optimisation of the design of core infrastructure elements as well as improve the management of the railway system by adopting a holistic approach.

There are 54 industry partners from across Europe involved in In2Rail, which has a budget of €18m and is due to finish in May 2018.