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Delays, detours, crowded carriages… Travelling is really complicated for regular citizens on daily basis. That’s why it’s vital that the state keeps up with the latest innovations to make the experience as seamless as possible.

PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A (Polish State Railways) is well-aware of that fact, and so they teamed up with the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR) to find a solution. They created BRIK — the Research and Development in Railway Infrastructure programme — which aims to improve our railway system. Thirty projects were submitted for review last year, and recently the jury has chosen ten to be implemented. NCBR will provide a head-spinning sum of 35M PLN to fund them.

There were five issues on which R&D projects could focus: digitalisation and processing of railway traffic parameters, reduction of the negative effect of railway on the environment, increase of availability of customer service facilities, improvement of maintenance of the railway infrastructure (resistance to weather and human factors, in particular), and modernisation of the infrastructure itself.

The top-rated project was created by the Polish Center for Photonics and Fiber Optics, InPho Tech, and Maxer – Engineering Technical Support. They came up with an innovative method of measuring rail temperature. Thanks to their solution, any dangers can be detected remotely and be immediately reported to the IT systems thus preventing accidents.

The highest funding, on the other hand, was awarded to the Railway Institute and its partners: Siled, AREX – Automation and Measuring Devices, and ABZ Consulting. The project will get over 2,8M PLN to create a system for smart illumination of the railway infrastructure. Their solution will help monitor and adjust the lighting to the actual train traffic or the location of passengers on the platforms.

There were also a lot of eco-friendly projects. The Warsaw University of Technology, the Railway Institute, the Institute of Environmental Protection in cooperation with Budimex and Tines proposed a solution for railway vibration and noise reduction. Another example is a self-cleaning photovoltaic panel integrated with a sound absorbing screen, created by the Institute of Metallurgy and Materials Science of Polish Academy of Sciences, the Military University of Land Forces, and the Wrocław University of Technology. It’s a promising concept that can be also used in road transport.

Other projects chosen by the jury include: an innovative method of train trajectory optimisation; an anti-theft system; optimisation of the track internal fault detection system to comply with Polish State Railways’s standards; standardisation of the computer and train traffic control system’s interfaces, as well as improvement of electromagnetic compatibility of the traffic control system and the trains.

“The projects realised by NCBR and Polish State Railways will improve the standard of living of Polish people, as well as lead to an increase of innovation and competitiveness of the national rail transport by 2026,” says Jarosław Gowin, deputy prime minister and Minister of Science and Higher Education.

The projects are scheduled to be completed by 2023. They promise not only to open a new chapter for the state railway system but also to support Poland as a hub for innovation in Europe.

NCBR is a Partner of Impact’18. If you don’t want to miss out on this amazing event — register here! See you on June 13th & 14th in Krakow!