Network rail have announced that their newly introduced ‘Bright Ideas’ portal and could already have saved the conglomerate more than £40 million.
Although it was only launched in March of this year the portal has received more than 200 submissions of ideas to improve rail services and rail safety.
Some of the new proposals are already being implemented whilst others are at the investigation stage.
One of the most lauded rail safety ideas is a camera that is put in place to look for defects on rail wires overhead. The cameras, which were proposed by Kongsberg Maritime Ltd, can be utilised without the need to turn off overhead power or close the train line, leading to greater efficiency in the rail service. This will mean that Network Rail will incur less rail delay fines which could save them millions each year.
Amongst some of the other ideas which are currently being investigated are soundproof curtains which block out the noise of rail maintenance to nearby houses and safety fences which can be clipped into place and act as a barrier between workmen and trains whilst maintenance is being carried out.
Director of engineering for Network Rail Steve Yianni commented that the response to the new portal had been ‘fantastic’ both from UK and foreign companies. He went on to say that projected figures show that new innovations could save Network Rail up to £38 million over the next two years.
Yianni explained that the success of the scheme meant that it would most likely be carried through until 2019 by which time even greater savings on rail maintenance and rail safety could have been made.
He added that Network Rail wanted to hear from more company’s and inventors who do not normally work within the rail industry as they often had the ability to ‘think outside the box’. Yianni explained that the company would be happy to hear ideas from anyone who could help create further savings for the UK rail industry in the future.
Inventors and companies who wish to put forward an idea to Network Rail should submit a proposal which addresses the ‘challenges’ put forward by the company. Once a proposal has been submitted it is assessed by one of the innovation supply chain managers to ascertain if it should be investigated further.
Lucky candidates who pass through this stage will then have the opportunity to work with Network Rail to develop their idea into a workable money saving innovation for rail safety and rail maintenance.