In June UKTram announced that it is pushing forward with GBP3m (EUR4m) plans to demonstrate seven innovative solutions that reduce the lifetime cost and impact of light rail schemes, using funding from the Innovate UK Technology Strategy Board. The schemes address two main themes, track or energy infrastructure:
- Precast Advanced Track (Light Rail and Metro) – PCAT: Modular pre-cast track slab design.
- Atkins: Composite material overhead line equipment.
- TRL: Lightweight modular track design.
- Alta Innovations Ltd: A set of tools to maximise the efficiency of how light rail vehicles utilise their power requirements.
- EM Track Alliance led by BWB Consulting: Modular track slab designed to be compatible with bus rapid transit.
- University of Huddersfield, Institute of Rail Research: Development of a rail asset management tool to determine optimum rail wear limits.
- ARR Rail Solutions: Development of a cost-effective weld deposition method for in situ restoration of worn grooved rail including high-strength steels.
The UK’s Department for Transport has provided further funding to support the project and allow additional projects to be progressed.