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Home Innovation East West Railway Company launches Trackathon

East West Railway Company launches Trackathon

East West Railway (EWR) Company has launched its first Trackathon event, aimed at gathering information and exploring solutions to six innovation challenges (listed below). Suppliers are invited to register their interest for Day 2 of the Trackathon on 29th September 2023 (full day), which is centred around suppliers, SMEs and rail membership organisations.

It is an opportunity for suppliers to engage EWR experts on key strategic challenges and gather detailed information around specific needs and potential value. Organisations will also have the opportunity to present solutions to help EWR think creatively about addressing a specific challenge.

This is an information-gathering event only and any subsequent commercial activity will be the subject of a formal procurement exercise.


On the day, after an introduction from senior leadership and innovation teams, suppliers will be allocated to groups according to which challenge each supplier selected during the registration of interest. During the day suppliers will create a short pitch document describing the problem, the supplier’s solution and its potential benefits. Throughout the day suppliers will spend time with EWR experts to tailor the pitch document. At the end of the day suppliers will email their pitches to EWR’s innovation team. Sparksfly, an innovation consultancy, who will be facilitating the event on EWR’s behalf.

EWR are seeking innovators who have solutions in the below areas:

Challenge 1: Increasing quality and use of recycled materials

EWR’s civil engineering and building programme will generate large volumes of construction by-products. EWR is interested in solutions which will upgrade the quality of these by-products or increase the use of recycled materials in EWR construction.

Challenge 2: Enabling efficient earthworks

EWR’s earthworks programme will excavate ~16Mm3 material and is one of the largest items of EWR’s capital spend. EWR is interested in solutions which speed up earthworks design decisions, improve information sharing and increase the usability of cut material. EWR is also interested in solutions which lower the cost of earthworks plant, including fleet optimisation tools and use of low cost alternative energy (e.g. hydrogen, electrification).

Challenge 3: Mitigating supply bottlenecks

Delays in the EWR scheme may cost upwards of £1-3m per week. Supply bottlenecks, such as a lack of locomotives (to transport building materials) or constraints on plant availability, significantly increase the likelihood of delay. EWR is interested in the use of innovative digital or AI solutions to manage materials transportation and plant sourcing more efficiently, thereby reducing the need for stockpiling and associated cash and land requirements.

Challenge 4: Reducing cost of concrete construction

Constructing the railway will use ~230,000m3 of concrete, mostly within structures (e.g. viaducts, bridges), stations and temporary works. EWR is interested in solutions which optimise concrete design, increase the proportion of precasting, replace concrete structures with lower cost prefabricated or 3D-printed items and use alternative concrete mixes.

Challenge 5: Enabling efficient infrastructure maintenance

EWR is interested in exploring solutions which reduce infrastructure maintenance costs for earthworks, track, electrical equipment, structures & bridges, stations and power equipment. EWR is interested in innovative data collection devices, analysis platforms and BIM to support lower cost predictive maintenance processes and reduce manual inspections.

Challenge 6: Enabling efficient rolling stock maintenance

EWR is interested in exploring digital solutions which enable automated inspection and predictive maintenance of rolling stock. EWR is interested in solutions which derive benefit from on-track or in-depot sensors and therefore have near-to-medium-term impacts on the construction of the railway.

Links – You’ll find more information about the event here; EWR Trackathon – Summary Information for Suppliers (Day 2).docx.pdf – Google Drive

Apply here: East West Rail Trackathon Registration of Interest (

Photo credit: East West Rail

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