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LNER chooses the innovative startups it will work with to improve UK rail travel

As part of London North Eastern Railway’s innovation programme, LNER FutureLabs, the train operator will be working with five of the most innovative startups around the world to accelerate new projects to improve rail travel in the UK.

Startups were invited to pitch their pioneering ideas in three key areas;More Journeys, More Often, Personalised Customer Experience and Responsible Business. Following two consecutive pitch days with startups from around the world – all held via Microsoft Teams – the panel selected five successful start-ups to take forward:

  • QikServe, from Edinburgh, will be using their experience of digital self-service technology to help deliver an ‘at seat’ personalised customer experience;
  • Skignz, a global leader in augmented reality based in Middlesbrough, will be looking at how to create a personalised mapping and information experience for customers at and nearby LNER stations;
  • iomob, based in Barcelona, will aim to encourage more people to travel by train through the use of technology that supports better mobility;
  • Green City Solutions,from Berlin, will be working to provide clean air and healthy spaces for customers as part of LNER’s Responsible Business plan;
  • Sirenumwill also be looking at the area of Responsible Business through advanced systems management from their headquarters in London.

Danny Gonzalez, chief digital and innovation officer at LNER, said: “It was fantastic to hear from startups from as far away as North America and the Middle East about how they would apply their innovative approaches to the UK rail industry.

“There was tough competition, but we have selected five startups that will nowmove onto the next stage of the accelerator programme and to see some of the ideas start to come to life. They certainly have the potential to make a real difference to the lives of our customers, communities and colleagues.”

From next week the five successful start-ups will receive unprecedented access to LNER’s live operational environments and one-to-one mentoring from senior team members as they develop their proof of concepts. A Demo Day will then be held in Central London in September.

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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