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Future Railway to seek research proposals from all sectors for a Combined Positioning Alternative Signalling System competition

Future Railway, the collaboration between Network Rail and RSSB set up to deliver the Rail Technical Strategy, has announced that it plans to launch a 100% funded competition in the new year, offering £4m for “highly innovative technology approaches” for helping enable trains to continue to move when the existing railway signalling fails.

The COMbined Positioning Alternative Signalling System competition, also to be known as COMPASS, refers to a system being developed to enable trains to continue to move when the current signal system fails. It will also provide signallers with an alternative and more accurate view of a train's position, speed and direction of travel, plus the infrastructure settings.


COMPASS to determine a train’s position, speed, and direction - and verify the infrastructure

The COMPASS system is being developed to mitigate a significant proportion (up to 70%) of these delays, by allowing shorter recovery times before trains commence moving after delays, than can currently be achieved by Temporary Block Working (TBW).

The COMPASS system will allow the control centre (or Rail Operating Centre) to independently determine a train’s position, monitor its speed, direction and verify that the infrastructure is correctly set without the need to deploy line side personnel. This process has been termed Degraded Mode Working (DMW).


Research proposals wanted from multiple sectors

Future Railway hopes to attract short-term, proof-of-concept research proposals from across multiple sectors for highly innovative technology approaches relevant to railways related industries. This may involve cutting-edge, multidisciplinary research through the application of existing tools and techniques, but using novel research approaches.


Briefing event in London in mid-January 2015

The competition will include two phases with successful applicants funded to carry out an initial feasibility study to investigate the technical and commercial viability of their proposed solutions. The most promising innovators will receive funding to demonstrate systems and component validation in a relevant environment with one solution being taken forward to a Proof of Concept demonstration.

The competition will be judged by a panel of industry experts including representatives from train operating companies (TOCs), Network Rail and RSSB.

A briefing event will be held in London in mid-January 2015 for interested suppliers and the competition will be launched immediately following the event. The event will set out the challenge and competition scope in detail, confirm the competition timeline and provide a networking opportunity.

Innovators can register interest in the COMPASS competition and for the networking event via email.


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