Home Company News LNER introduces FutureLabs to encourage rail innovation

LNER introduces FutureLabs to encourage rail innovation

LNER FutureLabs is a new innovation programme from London North Eastern Railway (LNER) that aims to fast-track digital and tech developments into the rail industry.

It provides an opportunity for tech and digital start-ups to put their ideas to the test in an industry that holds a huge amount of potential when it comes to overcoming the challenges of personalisation, encouraging increased usage and improving sustainability.

Three challenges are set as part of the LNER FutureLabs programme:

  1. More Journeys, More Often – digital services and solutions that encourage more people to travel by train.
  2. Personalised Customer Experience – innovations which can simplify, personalise and enhance the journey of every passenger.
  3. Responsible Business Innovation – delivering a railway network that is better for both the natural environment and for our local communities.

Danny Gonzalez, chief digital and innovation officer at LNER, said: “Our ambition is to truly transform rail travel for the benefit of our customers and communities.

“We’re not just talking about micro-changesthat tinker around the edges. We’re looking to take advantage of some of the world’s latest digital and tech developments to improve our service.

“This is a huge opportunity for brilliant and passionate start-ups to work with us in setting new standards for rail travel in the UK.”

LNER is offering successful applicants unprecedented access to its live operational environments, one-to-one mentoring from senior team members, and the opportunity to apply for funding to scale a proof-of-concept.

Shortlisted companies will be contacted from 8 May and invited to pitch their ideas before three are chosen to move forward to the next stage, where the proof-of-concept will be developed in partnership with LNER. A Demo Day will then be held in Central London in September.

To find out more about LNER FutureLabs, visit www.lnerfuturelabs.co.uk

Nigel Wordsworth BSc(Hons) MCIJhttp://therailengineer.com

SPECIALIST AREAS Rolling stock, mechanical equipment, project reports, executive interviews


Nigel Wordsworth graduated with an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Nottingham University, after which he joined the American aerospace and industrial fastener group SPS Technologies. After a short time at the research laboratories in Pennsylvania, USA, Nigel became responsible for applications engineering to industry in the UK and Western Europe. At this time he advised on various engineering projects, from Formula 1 to machine tools, including a particularly problematic area of bogie design for the HST.

A move to the power generation and offshore oil supply sector followed as Nigel became director of Entwistle-Sandiacre, a subsidiary of the Australian-owned group Aurora plc. At the same time, Nigel spent ten years as a Technical Commissioner with the RAC Motor Sports Association, responsible for drafting and enforcing technical regulations for national and international motor racing series.

Joining Rail Engineer in 2008, Nigel’s first assignment was a report on new three-dimensional mobile mapping and surveying equipment, swiftly followed by a look at vegetation control machinery. He continues to write on a variety of topics for most issues.

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