The University of Birmingham and Siemens Mobility have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create a centre of excellence for rail research and innovation in Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire, where Siemens Mobility is building a rail manufacturing facility.
Both Siemens Mobility and the University of Birmingham are founding partners of the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN). This new collaboration marks a natural progression for the parties.
The centre of excellence will cost around 50 million GBP and be built as part of phase 2 of the Rail Accelerator and Innovations Solutions Hub for Enterprise (RaisE). Its aim is to speed up the uptake of technology within the rail sector. It is to deliver practical and virtual training, provide prototyping labs and give a focus on industry innovation, such as the use of robotics and AI.
RaisE will also research decarbonisation and alternative traction technologies. The primary benefit of alternative traction technologies on the small number of lines where battery and hydrogen power is the most suitable is that those who live by or work on the railway will benefit from cleaner air as they are emission-free at their site of operation. The hub will also examine how to increase the reliability and availability of the railway through digital solutions.
“This is real and demonstrable progress of plans to turn Goole into the railway hub of the future and make the most of the talent there is in the local area.
“For us, Goole is about much more than railway manufacturing. It’s about creating an internationally recognised hub of railway excellence and I’m delighted that the University of Birmingham shares this vision.”
The RaisE hub will sit on a five-acre site. Phase 1 – offices for East Riding Council, Siemens Mobility and The Rail Alliance part of BCRRE as well as further space for SMEs and collaborative working areas – is to open in 2022. Phase 2 is due to open in 2023.
Siemens Mobility’s rail manufacturing plant is due to open in 2023. The site will manufacture the new rolling stock for London Underground’s Piccadilly line. The centre will complement the manufacturing site by trialling new technologies to speed up their adoption.
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