Imagine the railway of the future. 

Research and development teams across the rail industry are doing just that, thinking about the needs of passengers and businesses in 30 years’ time and even further ahead, and considering how the railway can adapt through innovation to meet these requirements.

Watch the video below to see how the future might look.

This video, produced alongside the Rail Technical Strategy when it was published in 2012, shows how a radically different railway service could use existing track infrastructure, with comfortable, energy-efficient trains able to travel closer together for more capacity on the network.

Rail Technical Strategy and its delivery

A strong, collaborative partnership, with representation from across the rail industry and supply chain, including Network Rail, is working to make this vision a reality through the Rail Technical Strategy Capability Delivery Plan [PDF].

Our plans to make this happen form key themes in the Safety, Technical and Engineering part of our recently published Strategic Business Plan for CP6, enabling intelligent operations through the Digital Railway and building new technical capability through the Capability Delivery Plan.

Our Safety, Technical and Engineering strategic plan

Visionary plan

The Capability Delivery Plan is a long-term vision and action plan for integrating new technologies into the railway to address the challenges of rapid growth and changing customer expectations.

The vision is for a technologically-enabled railway that delivers efficient, affordable, flexible and attractive transport, giving passengers more choice, more service, easier access and greater comfort and connectivity.

Twelve key capabilities align the development, deployment and delivery of technologies with the RTS vision:

  1. Running trains closer together
  2. Minimal disruption to train services
  3. Efficient passenger flow through stations and trains
  4. More value from data
  5. Optimum energy use
  6. More space on trains
  7. Services timed to the second
  8. Intelligent trains
  9. Personalised customer experience
  10. Flexible freight
  11. Low-cost railway solutions
  12. Accelerated research, development and technology deployment

The Technical Leadership Group (TLG), chaired by Network Rail’s group director for Safety, Technical and Engineering, Graham Hopkins, owns the RTS and leads its delivery, reporting to the Rail Delivery Group in partnership with the Rail Supply Group. 

A range of future scenarios are possible and adapting Rail Technical Strategy related programmes and activities to fit is an ongoing, organic process. 

More detail about the Capability Delivery Plan [PDF]

Find out more

Our strategy for research, development and technology

Research, development and technology at Network Rail

Rail Technical Strategy [PDF]