Whoosh Media will work with Grand Central to place QR codes on stations and train seats to distribute information.

UK: The Department for Transport and Innovate UK have awarded £9m of First of a Kind funding to support 30 rail innovation projects. This year’s funding round is focused on making railways ‘cleaner, greener and more passenger-friendly’.

‘The competition always throws up surprises and the ideas shown today could transform how we travel in future’, said Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps on July 2.

Simon Edmonds, Deputy Executive Chair & Chief Business Officer at Innovate UK, said ‘we called upon UK innovators to come up with fresh ideas. Yet again the response has been fantastic. Not only will passengers benefit from these great innovations but business prospects are bright in this sector too.’

Commenting on the allocations, David Clarke, Technical Director at the Railway Industry Association, said ‘even before the coronavirus pandemic, it was difficult for innovators to secure support and funding to scale up projects so that they could be ready to deploy on the rail network, but now — when many businesses are facing uncertain times following the pandemic — these businesses must have the support they need.

‘So we need to ensure there is no hiatus in decision making for the implementation of projects whilst rail revenue recovers. In fact, now is the time to implement these innovations at scale, as we seek to encourage passengers back and spark an economic recovery across the UK.’

FOAK competition winners


Lead organisation


Loyalty Platform to Encourage Customers Back to rail


Rail+ Club is a rail-focused loyalty platform which uses novel technology to track passenger engagement across the rail network non-intrusively. This enables a rewards and incentives programme to enhance the passenger experience and encourage passengers back to rail.

Project EDGE: Using AI to fuse terrestrial and satellite signals to improve connectivity on the rail network

Massive Analytic 

Massive Analytic Limited will use AI technology to combine terrestrial and satellite signals to enhance on board voice and data connectivity for customers and train staff and provide better real-time information on train locations.

Passenger Orientation Guide

Mission Room 

Mission Room is building a guidance system to help passengers navigate stations and train journeys based on  simple information that the customer provides about their journey and individual circumstances. It will be able to build a personalised visual 360° tour that will take them from the station entrance to their seat on the train accessible from home, at the station (touch screens) or on a smart phone. It can customise tours to take account of personal disabilities, reduce passenger anxiety and help passengers understand their journey ahead of travelling.

Proteus - Flexible Rail Interior System

Priestman Goode 

A coach environment and seating layout that addresses passenger concerns and provides operators with flexibility for a gradual return of passengers. Key features include: personal space within coaches; seat designs that facilitate easier cleaning and reduction of dirt-traps; features that allow passengers to do work and be productive; improved storage space; and a layout allowing operators to bring seats in and out of service according to demand immediately.

Community Rail Content Platform

Window Seater

Window Seater connects rail travellers to the world outside their window by providing high quality geolocated audio stories which tell passengers about the features along the railway. This will integrate local stories collected and held by community rail partnerships helping to attract more leisure travellers and bring people back to rail.

Using geospatial visualisation to deliver personalised real-time information to rail passengers

Super Local 

Signalbox will build and demonstrate technology that allows real-time geospatial visualisation of train movements across the entire rail network in Great Britain. The project will allow partners to embed real-time geospatial train maps, enabling passengers to view and track live train movements across the network, making it easier to plan and manage their journey.

The Real-Time Journey Dashboard via QR Codes

Spoken Ink 

Whoosh Media will work with Grand Central to place QR codes on stations and train seats to distribute information. The technology could greatly improve last mile travel by presenting passengers with information on changes in real-time. This overcomes difficulties caused by delays in multi-modal journeys that static datasets cannot address.

CCTV-based passenger density sensing & optimisation

Dynamic Crowd Measurement 

Project aims to provide accurate real-time platform and coach occupancy insights directly to passengers waiting on platforms, allowing them to make informed decisions on which train and in which coach they will travel.

Railfreight Energy & Emissions Calculator 

University Of Hull

A novel Railfreight Energy & Emissions Calculator that will be deployed on the existing NR+ platform used for rail freight planning and to calculate more emission computations.

Proactive Mitigation of Adverse Weather Conditions to Increase Passenger Confidence in Rail Resilience


Leaves on the line cause many delays each autumn and winter by making the lines more slippery and braking more dangerous, meaning that speed restrictions need to be applied. Traction Hub fits to trains’ wheels and uses the principles of electromagnetism to deliver safe and predictable braking whilst improving acceleration performance.

Reducing Emissions by Accelerating the Shift to Low Carbon Transport in Heavy Rail Freight

Clean Air Power GT 

Delivering a Class 66 locomotive running on hydrogen and a hydrogen gas blend or biomethane with low emissions across the drive cycle, particularly at idle where rail industry air quality issues currently exist.

Creating the Gold Standard Air Quality and Exposure Monitoring Tool for Stations and Train Care Depots

Atmo Technology 

The project aims to create a new gold-standard for air quality monitoring in the rail industry, using high spatial and temporal resolution data, real-time automated outputs, digital twins and dispersion-modeling using advanced ray-tracing.

IMAGE: Innovative composite Mast for Greener Electrification

Furrer + Frey GB 

Modernising and decarbonising railway vehicles through looking at the materials used in overhead line equipment as well as the manufacturing methods, the lineside installation, and automating of the condition monitoring of the masts throughout their operational lives.

Reducing Fatality Disruptions with 8K Forward Facing CCTV Optimised for Remote Access

Howell Enterprises 

After a train encounters a fatality, British Transport Police may need to check the video footage, which can be poor unless there is bright light. The new system will provide BTP with high quality forward-facing video using 8K video, cloud technology and advanced artificial intelligence recordings to allow quicker decisions, reduce hand-back time and alleviate wider customer disruption.

Optimising passenger flows through stations

Hitachi Europe 

System to monitor people flow, congestion points and behaviour at stations so operators can remove bottlenecks, deploy countermeasures, and restore passenger confidence in the rail system post Covid-19.

Driving Approach Optimisation for Alternate Energy Systems


This project provides tools for drivers to readily adapt to driving hydrogen and battery trains more efficiently to reduce energy usage.

An AI based Information System for Passengers for the Rail Industry


This project will increase speed and quality of information automatically provided during disruption, resulting in happier passengers, better informed front-line staff, and improved customer satisfaction ratings.

Covid Secure Travel Virtual Reality Simulation for Passengers

Chrome Angel Solutions 

An immersive virtual reality simulation experience of Covid-secure travel arrangements and customer support in place at stations and on trains, to increase passenger confidence by providing reassurance about the measures in place to protect them.


Incremental Solutions 

TRACO will present better and more accurate location information and predicted terminal arrivals to all organisations within the logistics supply chain. By accurately tracking and predicting arrivals for all vehicles, wagons and containers, paper-based systems can be reduced, and freight operations can be better planned and managed to improve the delivery of goods for customers.

TTK Scanning-Post for Barcoded Train Tickets

The Ticket Keeper 

Over 80% of mainline stations are ungated, meaning that tickets are inspected manually by train staff or not at all, providing with a large gap in the existing infrastructure. Ticket Keeper aims to address this by providing a lower cost attractive ticket validation option at these stations with a commercially viable barcoded ticket scanning-post.

Hearing Enhanced Audio Relay (HEAR)

Gomedia Services 

This affordable software solution will broadcast audio announcements to passengers’ own devices and give those with hearing problems the ability to hear audio announcements through their own audio devices

National Rail Assistance Auto-Validation


Transreport will further develop technology already in place to allow real-time automatic validation of accessibility equipment/facilities availability while booking.

Train and Station Cleaning Optimisation and Management


This project will integrate end-to-end cleaning management software with existing train operator infrastructure to record all cleaning activities from in-service cleaning to deep, overnight cleaning and sanitisation so it can be monitored by staff more effectively.

Making Travel on the Highland Mainline part of the Highland Adventure!


A digital tourism experience on the Perth to Inverness line through augmented reality, information and cultural audio.

ROV Non-Native Invasive Species Vegetation Control for Rail: Herbidrone UAPS


Drone delivered herbicide application for difficult to reach non-native invasive species of vegetation (eg buddleia on brickwork) on critical infrastructure (eg bridges, retaining walls, embankments, cuttings and tunnel entrances) to reduce work at height and/or near live tracks.

Transport Navigation for the Visually Impaired (Vin)

Gomedia Services 

GoMedia has partnered with the RNIB and technology provider Navilens to help the visually impaired find their way around stations, guiding them to platforms, coffee shops, facilities and more with the use of simple visual markers recognised by a standard mobile phone.

High Power Mainline Hybrid Electric Conversion For Freight Locomotives

Meteor Power 

This project aims to give old freight vehicles a new lease of life by retrofitting a hybrid electric powertrain which would be suitable to carry mainline freight.

A unique way to make rail travel as seamless, stress free and easy to use for all


Project will use precise location augmented reality technology to improve, enhance and improve the seamless flow of passengers through stations, especially where they may have different needs.

Artificial Intelligence Driven Hydraulic Energy Recovery & Delivery for Rail Wagons

Meteor Power 

Meteor Power will design an energy capture, storage and delivery system that can be fitted to freight wagons to allow them to move away from standstill under their own power, accelerating more quickly to save a considerable amount of time and avoid unnecessary delays.

Decarbonisation & Electrification of Freight Terminals (DEFT Project)

Furrer + Frey GB 

Retractable overhead system that enables the electrification of freight terminals whilst also allowing obstruction-free loading and unloading of freight. This eliminates the need for tug/shunting locomotives to manoeuvre electric trains into and out of freight terminals, removing the current barrier to end-to-end rail freight electrification. It will help to end the current reliance on diesel traction and enable full decarbonisation of the rail freight industry.