ProRail and Network Rail

EUROPE: British and Dutch railway infrastructure managers Network Rail and ProRail have signed a memorandum of understanding for continued co-operation in areas including automated inspection, acoustic monitoring using fibre optic cables, digitisation, asset management, measurement trains and embankment stability.

The MoU signed in Den Haag on August 18 follows several years of co-operation on ETCS Level 3 and fibre optic acoustic sensing, building on a previous MoU signed five years ago.

Karel van Gils, ProRail’s Director of Innovation & Technical Renewal, said the infrastructure managers ’have similar challenges in modernising and transforming their railway. Capacity needs to grow, whereas the railway systems and assets are ageing and workforces are scarce.

‘Both Network Rail and ProRail are committed to digitising the railway systems as it will be key for a future proof, interoperable and reliable, high-capacity railway. We will enhance each other’s efforts in the necessary research and development.’

Network Rail’s Chief Rail Technology Officer Robert Ampomah said ’we already share information on trespassing, managing our assets and even the impact of how Artificial Intelligence can help improve the way we work. He explained that ‘by sharing information we can check our findings against another operator, get a better spread of data and test our ideas on different infrastructure too’.