Porterbrook has launched its Innovation Hub, a static train testbed to fast-track the development of new ideas and accelerate improvements to passenger services.
The Innovation Hub is intended to be used by a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises which play an integral role in the UK rail industry’s supply chain, but face barriers to entry to demonstrate new ideas and innovations in a ‘real’ train environment.
“We’re proud to launch the Innovation Hub; a project we hope will pave the way for brilliant new ideas and technologies to be implemented on the railways. Innovation is the life-blood of the rail industry, but while there is no shortage of new ideas, we are very aware of the challenges our suppliers face in demonstrating and testing new products,” Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook, said.
The company created the Innovation Hub by re-purposing a four-car Class 319 train to serve as a working environment for a wide range of new technologies and passenger-facing improvements to be tested and showcased. The Hub will focus on environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, improved passenger facilities, new uses of data and connectivity and system monitoring.
Porterbrook aims to make the Innovation Hub a sustainable annual showcase for the latest innovations, growing in scale year on year. The Innovation Hub will be used by suppliers all-year-round, as a facility for customer visits and demonstrations.