REPOINT – improving railway safety and capacity

REPOINT – improving railway safety and capacity

REPOINT will improve safety, reduce maintenance costs and improve capacity on railways in the UK and around the world.

Railway track switches have worked the same way for over 200 years. Switch blades are forced from one position to another to change a train’s direction of travel. If a switch is not fully completed, and the blade stops in an intermediate position, trains risk derailment.

To reduce this risk, layers of sensors, signalling protocols and operational procedures have grown up, adding cost and complexity which in turn increases maintenance costs and reduces capacity – but does not always prevent derailment.

Using safety concepts derived from aerospace and the nuclear industry, REPOINT is a novel and innovative solution. A failsafe switch, if its multiple redundant actuation fails and the switch stops in an intermediate position, then REPOINT passively defaults to a safe state.

Developed at Loughborough, supported by the UK industry’s innovation programme, REPOINT could soon become a reality on rail networks – and saving lives worldwide.

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