HomeGeneral InterestRail innovation could level up northern economy

Rail innovation could level up northern economy

A report by economics and policy analysts Perspective Economics claims that greater investment in rail research could be used to help level up the economy in the north of England.

Entitled ‘Rail Innovation Eco-System: Understanding the Region’s Research and Innovation Capacity, Capabilities and Potential’, the report says there is a “compelling case” for further investment in rail innovation in the region that could drive “…economic recovery, and longer-term industrial advancement and economic growth”. 

The report, which was commissioned by the University of Leeds and University of Huddersfield, describes a “collective appetite among academia and industry to drive research” with hundreds of companies in the north of England already actively involved in rail industry research, development and innovation – and universities with advanced rail test facilities and expertise and a strong record of collaboration with the rail industry on research.

The call to use rail innovation as a means of economic development comes as the Government makes substantial investments in rail infrastructure through HS2 and upgrades to the East Coast main line, linking London to Yorkshire and Scotland, and the Transpennine route between Manchester, Leeds and York. That investment could amount to £200 billion over two decades.

Perspective Economics says the two universities could be the catalysts for future research with additional support from Government, the research councils, industry and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.

Professor Stephen Ingleton, engineering director at Unipart Rail, said: “This report demonstrates the huge potential for rail innovation within the region and emphasises the benefit of universities and industry working in partnership. As a company, we have strong research links with the higher education sector, and we are well placed to build on this to deliver benefits both within the region and to the whole industry.”

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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