Hitachi Europe has announced that it has launched a European Rail Research Centre.
The European Rail Research Centre will be located within the Hitachi Rail Europe office in central London and will be part of Hitachi Europe’s Transportation Energy & Environment Research Laboratory, European Research Division.
The newly established European Rail Research Centre will focus on a broad range of areas, including rolling stock design (interior and exterior), manufacturing practices, maintenance and traffic management systems.
Hitachi said it was enhancing its global research bases to promote localised research and development.
"At Hitachi, we place huge importance on research and development, as demonstrated by our extensive laboratories around the world," said Shigeru Azuhata, Executive Vice President and Executive Officer, Hitachi Group Chief Technology Officer.
"With the growth of our rail business in Europe and the UK, we felt that it was paramount to establish a dedicated research facility directly where key issues in areas such as maintenance, manufacture and Traffic Management Systems will present themselves.
"This growth in our local capabilities will enable us to better pursue our company’s global growth strategy for our Social Innovation Business."
Hitachi Europe already has a network of research facilities throughout Europe, consisting of the Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory, the Hitachi Design Centre Europe, the Information and Communication Technology Laboratory, and the Automotive R&D Laboratory.
The company established the Transportation Energy & Environment Research Laboratory last year, expanding its European R&D activities to cover its railway, coal-fired thermal power, power electronics and automotive businesses.
Railway Systems is one Hitachi’s core business areas in Europe, with Hitachi Rail Europe recently agreeing to supply, service and maintain the next fleet of rail carriages for the UK’s Intercity Express Programme.
Hitachi Rail Europe has also received an order from Network Rail for a prototype Traffic Management System.
"We expect the European Rail Research Centre to support Hitachi’s railway business in Europe and contribute to the development of the region’s railway infrastructure," said Kiyoshi Yamamoto, managing director of Hitachi Europe.
"The Research Centre will provide safe and high quality solutions by applying Hitachi’s leading technologies.
"In the future, we’d like to expand the research centre with a local office to directly support Hitachi Rail Europe’s planned manufacturing and assembly plant in the UK."
The European Rail Research Centre will support Hitachi’s expanding rail business and improve the Hitachi Group’s presence in Europe.
"Having the new European Rail Research Centre located in our European headquarters is a great asset and shows the level of long-term thinking and investment by Hitachi’s Research & Development Division," said Alistair Dormer, executive chairman and CEO of Hitachi Rail Europe.
"While Hitachi Rail Europe builds up its manufacturing facility in the UK, the findings of the Research Centre will feed into how we best establish the processes in the plant.
"Our recent contract win for a prototype for a UK Traffic Management System will be supported by local research.
"The European Rail Research Centre’s work on maintenance practices as carried out by our facility for the Class 395 train in Ashford, Kent, will help us hone our capabilities for maintaining the Super Express Trains for the Intercity Express Programme, showcasing how we are working locally in the UK and Europe on local research topics."