In a UK first, Porterbrook launched its pioneering Innovation Hub, a static train testbed to fast-track the development of new ideas and accelerate improvements to passenger services.
The Innovation Hub was used by a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which play an integral role in the UK rail industry’s supply chain, but face barriers to entry to demonstrate new ideas and innovations in a ‘real’ train environment.
In response, Porterbrook created the Innovation Hub by re-purposing a four-car Class 319 train to serve as a working environment for a wide range of new technologies and passenger-facing improvements to be tested and showcased.
The Hub focused on the following areas:
At the Innovation Hub’s first public exhibition at Rail Live in 2019, over 25 companies had been selected to demonstrate more than 30 new products and innovations on the Innovation Hub.
This was the first time that many UK-based companies, particularly SMEs, had the opportunity to showcase innovative and exciting passenger-focused solutions in a real train environment for free.
A video of the Innovation hub can be seen here!
Porterbrook Head of Innovation and Technical Services Chandra Morbey said of the ‘Innovation Hub’: “We were keen to make the whole process as simple and easy for suppliers as possible, so that we - and they - could focus on their ideas and innovation. Drawing on Porterbrook’s expert team of engineers, innovations were reviewed, and more than 30 different innovation ideas were selected to showcase.”
Suppliers included 3M, 42 Technology, Altro, Aqueios Guard, Aura Graphics, Axminster Carpets, Birley Manufacturing, BlockDox, Blocksil, Camira Fabrics, Chrysalis, Digital Rail Ltd., ELeather, EAO, ESG Rail, Flitetrak, I M Kelly R & A Ltd, Infodev EDI, Inspiring Solutions Group, KeTech Systems, Milwaukee Composites Incorporated, Motorail, On Train, Powelectrics, Revitaglaze, Stewart Signs, Train FX, Transcal Engineering, TRB Lightweight Structures, Unipart Rail and URGroup.
Rail Live is the premier hands-on rail event of the year – rolling stock, plant, people, techniques – unmissable. Be there!
Rail Live is a truly notable event for all people with a professional rail interest, not only those involved with rail plant and track working. Having RAIL take over the organisation and promotion of the show has made it possible for Rail Live to become a ‘Farnborough for the Railway’, and an event that is now well and truly in the international rail calendar.
Great planning and great team work from you guys for the Rail Live show!
I would encourage you to get around and talk to as many people as you can, because in my visit I genuinely have spoken to people I would never have seen before. That’s one of the joys of this dynamic, and it’s why I’m a real passionate supporter of Rail Live.
Rail Live is an unmissable event for SMEs like us to connect with passionate industry leaders and suppliers. The event has become a staple in our calendar, and is a fantastic opportunity to incept exciting project collaborations and partnerships. We're highly anticipating this year's event, and look forward to taking in the diverse breadth of rail expertise on offer!
Rail Live is a key event for Thomas Graham as an industrial supplier, it is a great opportunity to exhibit our range of products to the rail industry, speak to key contacts, that under normal conditions wouldn’t be accessible and we have been able to exhibit our specialised calibrated lockers, which have been a great success with some sizeable orders.
2022 was our first time exhibiting at Rail Live and we were absolutely thrilled with the response and engagement experienced over the 2-day event. We had productive conversations and consultations with attendees, who were both existing and potential clients. The event is well organised, in a great location and thoughtfully laid out and is now a valuable addition to our annual events calendar.