Innovation in railway platform end and edge technology

Key Features

Opportunity for businesses to apply for a share of £1.08 million, plus VAT, to develop solutions to detect and deter trespass at railway platform ends and edges.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £1.08 million

Opens: 2nd Dec 2019

Closes: 29th Jan 2020

! This scheme is now closed


Network Rail will invest up to £1.08 million, plus VAT. This will support the development of a technological and/or physical solution which will detect and deter trespass onto the railway from platform ends and edges.

Whilst Network Rail are eager to embrace new forms of innovation, the solution must be scalable to suit a variety of station environments. This will be tested through trials at multiple live station environments.


Network Rail’s security challenges include trespass at platform ends and edges (such as fare evasion or shortcuts) and incursion over platform ends and edges to commit crime (such as cable theft or vandalism). Network Rail is seeking to demonstrate the capability of physical and/or technological solutions to combat these challenges.

Your solution must be scalable to suit different station environments, including those with:

  • no station staff (referred to as basic)
  • some station staff or other ability to respond (medium)
  • live station response available (advanced)

When a trespass is detected, your solution must have the ability to deter physically, visually or audibly. In addition, it must be able to send an alert to a designated person or system to enable a response.

Your project must trial a solution in 2 live station environments for 12 months to account for seasonal fluctuations in trespass. Your application must describe the expected costs for:

  • development
  • installation at 2 stations
  • monitoring over a 12-month period

The goal is to install trespass reduction solutions that work for the end user. The objective is to enhance safety and reduce the number of minutes of delay resulting from trespass. Network Rail aims to create a detailed report on the projects’ findings.

Your solution must:

  • demonstrate RIRL 3 at the time of application
  • be able to demonstrate RIRL 4 after 3 months of R&D
  • provide evidence required for trial product acceptance by Network Rail
  • develop an installation scheme plan for approval by Network Rail
  • demonstrate RIRL 6 and provide information for product acceptance at the end of the trial

Your proposal must show:

  • whether you have experience of implementing similar systems
  • that you can develop your technology to the scope requirements
  • the maturity of your technology
  • how you will work with local engineering teams and Network Rail Telecom before the live trial for safety assurance
  • how you will work with station staff to develop user processes (for medium and advanced implementations)
  • that you will build in reviews during the trial to ensure quality at 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months (end of trial)

You must:

  • create a solution that is adaptable to different station environments (such as different sized or shaped platforms or varying light levels)
  • create a solution that allows for varying levels of staff involvement
  • show how scalability will affect performance

This competitions scope information continues on Innovate UK’s competition listing – click here.


Your organisation must:

  • be an organisation of any size
  • carry out the demonstration in the UK
  • be based in the UK, EU, or the EEA

Your organisation can work alone or, if you do not have all the required expertise, you can work with others as subcontractors.

Innovate UK understand it may be a challenge to access railway assets and get permission to make modifications. You will need to develop your own relationships with railway asset owners, but to get help finding sub-contractors you could:

  • attend the competition briefing event listed in ‘dates’
  • contact the Knowledge Transfer Network
  • contact railway organisations such as the Rail Industry Association

Funding Costs

There is up to £1.08 million, plus VAT, allocated to fund projects in this competition. Each project can apply for up to £360,000, plus VAT.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £200,000 and £360,000, plus VAT.

Your project should start by 1 May 2020 and can last up to 16 months.

You must allow 4 months for development and installation of your project, followed by a 12-month trial. You must demonstrate suitability to undertake work proposed in a live railway station environment. At the close of the trial, your project must deliver evidence of achieving rail industry readiness level (RIRL) 6.

The competition is expected to fund at least 3 projects.

Successful projects will be 100% funded. The funding is provided by Network Rail and the competition process is managed by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.

Applications must have at least 50% of the contract value attributed directly and exclusively for research and development (R&D) services. R&D does not include:

  • commercial development activities such as quantity production
  • supply to establish commercial viability or to recover R&D costs
  • integration, customisation or incremental adaptations and improvements to existing products or processes


Innovate UK discourage you from focusing on:

  • surveillance analytics
  • facial recognition
  • alerts driven by social media mood and/or geo-location
  • mobile phone analysis

Innovate UK are not funding projects that:

  • are not likely to be successfully exploited by the rail industry to deliver benefits to rail or light-rail organisations and their customers
  • are not within a year of being ready for market
  • do not create a significant change in the level of innovation available in the rail industry
  • are not high maturity
  • have high technical risk
  • cannot effectively deliver a demonstration within a railway environment
  • do not deliver an immersive innovative demonstrator in a railway context
  • do not feature a demonstration phase, offering the customer a chance to use the innovation and give feedback