Dynamic Train Planning

Key Features

Share of up to £3.1 million available to fund innovative demonstration projects (TRLs 4 to 7) that help the rail industry implement more VSTP schedules in a robust and validated way, ensuring there is an allocated and de-conflicted path for each train service.

Programme:     RSSB

Award:     Share of up to £3.1 million

Opens: 1st Oct 2019

Closes: 3rd Jan 2020

! This scheme is now closed


The aim of the call is to:

  • Establish how RSSB can implement more VSTP (Very Short Term Planning) schedules in a robust and validated way with an allocated and de-conflicted path for each train service; and
  • Reduce the time required to administer the VSTP process.

This would ease the current manual burden and provide a degree of intelligent automation, while interfacing with current and legacy data systems.


Proposals must demonstrate a good understanding of the process of train planning and VSTP; the related roles and tasks within control centres, including industry systems, process and GB mainline signalling; and an awareness of past and current research and development in this area.

Technology development funded through this competition should already have achieved proof-of-concept and be at TRL 4 or over. It is expected that successful projects will demonstrate their capability in a relevant test environment. Projects that carry out demonstrations in live environments are also welcome and will be looked upon favourably.

Ultimately, RSSB are looking for solutions that could perform well on a congested railway, can be used in multiple areas of the GB network and have a measurable impact. The proposed scope of work should include validation of the potential impact so that it is easier to attract investment for the commercialisation phase and it is possible to start to build a strong case for its adoption.

The following will be considered out of scope:

  • Anything resembling, or close to, ‘business as usual’ activity;
  • Technology solutions which are still in early research stages (TRL 1-3);
  • Technology solutions which are already near to market commercialisation (TRL 8-9); and
  • Anything Network Rail or duty holders are already contractually committed to provide under their franchise agreement or other agreements (however, solutions that build and expand on existing commitments and plans are in scope).


The competition is open to applications from, but not limited to:

  • Train Operating Companies
  • Freight Operating Companies
  • Infrastructure Managers
  • Supply Chain Companies

This competition seeks to encourage greater collaboration between the rail supply chain and railway undertakings and/or infrastructure managers to ensure that the needs of both the intermediate users (industry) and the end-users (passengers and freight customers) are fully understood, and the solutions developed have the best chance of being applied.

Therefore, collaborative proposals are strongly encouraged and the inclusion of at least one organisation with responsibilities for running the railway (either an operator or an infrastructure manager) is strongly recommended. Applicants should provide letters of support to demonstrate their engagement with industry.

Each consortium must appoint a Lead Organisation (LO). The LO must be based in the UK. International partners are welcome to join consortia as long as their involvement is justified in the proposal and the majority of the work takes place in the UK. RSSB will contract directly with the LO, which will be responsible for receiving and managing the funding.

Funding Costs

RSSB has allocated up to £3.1 million to fund innovative demonstrator projects that meet this scope. This competition is expected to fund 2 to 3 projects.

Projects are to start work by 1st April 2020.

All awards are subject to state aid requirements and further details are provided in the Guidance Notes Document.


Completed application forms must be emailed to researchcompetitions@rssb.co.uk by 5pm on 3rd January 2020.