A failsafe track switch designed to solve a 200-year-old problem on the railway has been created by engineers at Loughborough University.
Using theories taken from the aerospace and nuclear industry, the new technology called Repoint will improve safety, reduce maintenance costs and boost capacity on the network. It comes after decades of research by industry experts into improved mechanisms to override track switch failures which can lead to train derailment. Repoint works through a patented arrangement of interlocking rail ends. A lift and drop system moves the switch in fractions of a second, compared to four seconds on the current design.
Supported by the UK Rail Safety and Standards Board, the next step for the Repoint project is a prototype switch that will be trialled on a test track.