Rail Live 2024
19-20 June 2024
Porterbrook’s Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre

Innovation Hub

Visitors to Rail Live 2019 witnessed the official launch of Porterbrook’s ‘Innovation Hub’ train.

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:

  • Environmentally friendly manufacturing processes
  • Improved passenger facilities
  • New uses of data and connectivity
  • System monitoring

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.