A collaboration involving Unviersity of Birmingham researchers from the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) has won an award at the Railway Industry Innovation Awards.

BCRRE partnered with Abtus Ltd, a specialist railway engineering company based in the South East, to research and create a new state-of-the-art railway track measuring device. The partnership won in the small-scale project category and the resulting product is now being used on British railways.

BCRRE offered expertise and testing facilities to Abtus when creating the Abtus Max Cyclic Top Trolley. The new trolley measures cyclic top, a condition of the track which occurs when a dip in a rail causes the suspension of a vehicle passing over it to bounce.

Cyclic top is responsible for one third of all the temporary speed restrictions in place across the network and in severe cases can cause, or be a factor in, train derailments. This new technology enables track engineers to quickly identify, measure and repair cyclic top faults ensuring the safety of the track and re-establishing line speed as quickly as possible.

Professor Clive Roberts, Head of BCRRE at the University of Birmingham, said: “We are thrilled that Abtus has received this prestigious industry award. We are particularly pleased to have collaborated with them to create a product that will ultimately help to improve performance, safety and passenger experience. Our relationship with Abtus is an example of industry and academia successfully working together to create innovative and cutting-edge products for real-world railway solutions.”

Sam Parrett, Managing Director, Abtus Limited said: “Working with BCRRE has been an absolute pleasure and has changed Abtus as a business immeasurably. To now receive this award from the Railway Industry in recognition of what we have achieved is just fantastic.”

The Railway Industry Innovation Awards are the longest-standing awards scheme in the industry. Now organised by the 4th Friday Club, the Awards are the annual event at which everybody keen on seeing innovation in the railway sector meets up to discuss and celebrate the brightest ideas in the industry.

This partnership received funding from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships programme (KTP). KTP aims to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base. This successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership project, funded by UK Research and Innovation through Innovate UK, is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.