Funding boost for strategic rail research

Rail research in the UK is to benefit from an additional £15m of government funding.

A new strategic research programme will be managed by Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), offering a substantial boost to the rail industry's research and development capacity. It is intended to help the industry achieve the long-term goals set out in last year's Rail Technical Strategy, and support the rail industry and its stakeholders in the delivery of 'step changes' on the rail network over the next 30 years.

The programme is additional to the current research programme, also managed by RSSB and funded by the Department for Transport.

Speaking at the launch of the programme, rail minister Tom Harris said: "This programme will help the industry achieve the challenging long-term goals set out in the White Paper, such as doubling rail capacity and further reducing the carbon footprint of rail transport in a safe and cost-effective way."

Research projects are due to start in spring 2009, and the programme itself will run for five-and-a-half years. Before that, RSSB will work with DfT and the industry on 'route-mapping' - paving the way for an industry vision of what fulfilling the Rail Technical Strategy means, and how the new research programme can support it.

RSSB's director of policy, research and risk, Anson Jack said: "RSSB is established as the rail industry's own research body and welcomes this vote of confidence and the commitment in the industry's future research needs. We look forward to working with our members, the industry and the Department for Transport to make the Rail Technical Strategy a reality."

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