British-Dutch co-operation on new technologies

Network Rail and ProRailThe rail infrastructure managers of Great Britain and the Netherlands, Network Rail and ProRail respectively have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to continue their partnership in areas including automated inspection, acoustic monitoring using fibre optic cables and other technological improvements.

“Network Rail and ProRail are both dedicated to running more reliable railways for passengers and freight customers, and we share many of the same challenges and opportunities. As well as new tech, we already share information on trespassing, managing our assets and even the impact of how Artificial Intelligence can help improve the way we work,” Robert Ampomah, Network Rail’s chief rail technology officer, said.

The two infrastructure managers aim to progress in the digital railway, asset management, measurement trains and embankment stability.

The agreement between Network Rail and ProRail follows several years of close working on new technologies including cab signalling system, ERTMS Hybrid Level 3 and Fibre Optic Acoustic Sensing (FOAS) and is based on a MoU signed five years ago.

The two companies “have similar challenges in modernising and transforming their railway. Capacity needs to grow, whereas the railway systems and assets are aging and work forces are scarce. Both Network Rail and ProRail are committed to digitising the railway systems as it will be key for a future proof, interoperable and reliable, high-capacity railway. We will enhance each other’s efforts in the necessary research and development,” Karel van Gils, ProRail Director of Innovation and Technical Renewal said.

The agreement was singed on August 18, 2023, at the British Embassy in the Netherlands, at the Ambassador’s Residence in The Hague, in the presence of the Keith Allan, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy, The Hague. “I wish the teams every success with their further technical exchange and co-operation. Another great example of the strength of the relationship between our two countries as North Sea Neighbours,” Keith Allan said.


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