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 a fantastic forum for us with a huge number of exciting opportunities generated each year!
It's great to see Rail Live clearly going from strength to strength and it's already obvious to me that it's taken a step forward in the last year which is tribute to Nigel and all the team who have worked hard to make Rail Live 2019 a success, so well done to all of you.
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.
This event offers something different, it gave us was the opportunity to be in a railway environment with real plant and real organisations. - Pino De Rosa, Managing Director, Bridgeway Consulting