Avanti West Coast becomes first train operator to join UKRRIN

Avanti West Coast has become a member of UK Rail Research Innovation Network which brings together world-leading experts and facilities across the industry.

An Avanti West Coast locomotive

Credit: Avanti West Coast

Avanti West Coast has become the first train operator to join a prestigious network of world-leading experts and facilities aiming to revolutionise rail travel, led by the University of Birmingham. The intercity operator, which serves major towns and cities on the West Coast between London and Scotland, is now part of the UK Rail Research Innovation Network (UKRRIN), an initiative designed to create collaboration between academia and the rail industry. 

Led by the University of Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE), UKRRIN aims to provide a step-change in innovation in the sector. The network provides its members with access to the latest facilities and research from experts across the industry to support the development and adoption of new solutions and technologies.

Membership of UKRRIN will give Avanti West Coast access to subject specialists in digital systems, rolling stock and infrastructure to identify opportunities to develop and innovate its customer experience, as well as its day-to-day operation.

The first collaboration project between Avanti and the University of Birmingham will see the BCRRE analyse areas of the business to propose priorities for the future, including its behind-the-scenes operations, customer experience, accessibility, and inclusivity.

Through its membership to UKRRIN, Avanti West Coast will also gain access to the skills, knowledge, and expertise of the University of Huddersfield, which is the lead for the Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock and the University of Southampton, the lead facility for the Centre of Excellence in Infrastructure.

“The West Coast Main Line has a proud history of innovating, and we’re keen to continue that as we aim to revolutionise rail travel,” Michael Weston, Executive Director of Projects at Avanti West Coast, said. “We’re excited to be a part of this great network of world-leading experts and look forward to collaborating with them to create a railway the UK can be proud of.”

“In these challenging times it’s more important than ever that the industry is able to innovate to improve customer experience, sustainability and affordability,” Paul Plummer, Professor in Rail Strategy at the BCRRE, said. “We’re delighted to be working with Avanti West Coast on their priorities and for them to become the first train operating company to join UKRRIN.”