Tech start-up to fine tune Network Rail tunnel maintenance - International Burch University
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Tech start-up to fine tune Network Rail tunnel maintenance

Tech start-up to fine tune Network Rail tunnel maintenance


Technology start-up hyperTunnel has been awarded a Network Rail contract to improve the rail operator’s tunnel maintenance methods.

In particular hyperTunnel has been tasked with drawing up radical cost and delivery time improvements.

The Network Rail contract will see hyperTunnel’s suite of repair products and services trialled for the maintenance and improvement of the UK’s regional railway infrastructure, which includes approximately 650 Victorian age tunnels.

Products being trialled include digital twins, robotics, 3D printing and digital underground surveying, supported by AI and VR.

Network Rail network technical head (mining and tunnels) David Castlo said: “Our large portfolio of Victorian tunnels requires increasing levels of work to meet the needs of the railway network.

“However, we want to reduce the level of disruption to our passengers so we are constantly searching for new approaches to enlarging or repairing tunnels that reduce the length of time a tunnel will be closed to trains.”

hyperTunnel is a UK-based tech start-up company, which is developing radical new methods of tunnelling. Its aim is to transform underground construction by building tunnels faster, with less risk, and in a more economical and environmentally friendly way through the application of technologies that have been proven in other industries.

hyperTunnel director of engineering Patrick Lane-Nott added: “Details of our various unique methodologies are still largely under wraps, but they are suitably developed and proven to attract the attention of Network Rail.

“We are very excited about the potential of this collaboration, as it will allow us to demonstrate more widely the time and cost-saving benefits of our processes, as well as the safety and environmental advantages.”


Department of Civil Engineering