AVANTI West Coast has become the first British train operator to join a network of leading experts and facilities aiming to revolutionise rail travel under the leadership of the University of Birmingham.

The rail company, which operates intercity trains on the West Coast Main Line between London Euston, the Midlands, northwest England and Scotland, is now part of the UK Rail Research Innovation Network (UKRRIN) – an initiative designed to create research 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 by providing its members with access to the latest facilities and research from experts across the industry. The aim is to support the development and adoption of new solutions and technologies in the rail sector.

Membership of UKRRIN will give Avanti West Coast access to specialists in digital systems, rolling stock and infrastructure who are able to identify ways to enhance passenger experience, as well as the company’s day-to-day operation.

The first collaboration project between Avanti and the University of Birmingham will see BCRRE analyse areas of the business to propose ways of improving its behind-the-scenes operations and customer experience, while also making its services more accessible and inclusive.

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