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De-icing platforms get share of £9.4m fund to revolutionise railways

The technology is due to be trialled at a UK station within the next nine months.

A project developing railway station platforms that automatically melt ice has received a share of £9.4 million of Government funding.

Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University are making concrete slabs with a heating system that switches itself on in freezing conditions to prevent passengers from slipping.

Their design also involves the platform edge being illuminated to give travellers useful information, such as where they can find quieter carriages or the direction of the nearest exit.

The technology is due to be trialled at a UK station within the next nine months.

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps congratulated the competitors (Aaron Chown/PA)

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps congratulated the competitors (Aaron Chown/PA)

PA

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps congratulated the competitors (Aaron Chown/PA)

Rail Safety and Standards Board figures show that 19 people were killed and more than 7,000 were injured in accidents around platform edges on Britain’s railways in a recent five-year period.

Casualties include people who were getting on and off trains, and waiting for a train to arrive.

A total of 25 “pioneering” projects have secured funding in the latest round of the Department for Transport’s First of a Kind competition.

The winning bids feature a range of ideas, including an app allowing train passengers to switch seat reservations at the last-minute, enabling 5G connections on the rail network and more resilient glazing for train windows.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “I am delighted to announce the winners of this year’s First of a Kind competition which will support better, more environmentally friendly journeys.

“Crucially, these pioneering projects will also ensure that passengers have a more efficient, reliable and responsive railway, making their journeys simpler and easier.

“From clever technology on platforms to prevent icy surfaces, new seat-switching apps and improved 5G Wi-Fi connections, harnessing innovation will be crucial to modernising the network and making our railways greener and cleaner, as we build out of Covid-19 and look to the future.”

PA