A UNIVERSITY is due to make a major contribution to innovation in the rail sector.

The University of Southampton’s facilities and expertise will play a leading role in developing the new HS2 (High Speed 2) railway infrastructure.

An agreement between HS2 Ltd and the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) will enable the company and its partners to accelerate new technologies from research into market applications globally.

This will be done through the country’s leading railway research centres including the University of Southampton, the University of Birmingham and the University of Huddersfield.

Professor William Powrie leads the infrastructure centre of excellence in the faculty of engineering and physical sciences at the University of Southampton.

He said: “Rail is the most efficient form of mechanised land transport in terms of capacity and energy use, making a strong contribution to the UK’s zero carbon targets.”

“We are delighted to work with HS2 and its partners to enable them to construct, operate and maintain an affordable, reliable, high-capacity railway and minimise carbon committed in construction.”

Southampton was selected by the rail industry in 2017 to lead the UKRRIN Infrastructure Centre of Excellence.

The University’s showcase facilities include the National Infrastructure Laboratory, opened last year, which features a specific focus on railway infrastructure thanks to Southampton’s team of academics and government investment in specialist equipment.

Howard Mitchell, Head of Innovation for HS2 said: “HS2 is a major opportunity for British academia and UK plc to come together and meet the challenge of delivering what is a huge investment in the country’s future.”