■ Factory train value debate

■ Production the new focus

■ Innovation supports production-line wiring

There are times when the default question ‘why did something fail?’ serves little purpose and ‘why didn’t something work?’is more productive. This thought was triggered by recent invitations to apply for the latest round of ‘innovashun’ funding, plus a subsequent return to a new iteration of the Rail Technical Strategy (RTS).

Under the heading ‘low emissions’, one of the RTS’s goals is ‘cheaper and less disruptive electrification’. It describes the current situation as ‘concerns over cost and disruption following recent electrification schemes have undermined political support’. Well, you can’t argue with that.

However, first of the ‘stepping stones for the next five years’ is ‘standards and design for discontinuous electrification are adopted, including automated traction switching’. And you can certainly argue with that.

Two other ‘stepping stones’ are ‘standards/incentives adopted to reduce the need for civil engineering while maintaining safety’ and ‘faster, more detailed and more effective planning and route clearance is enabled’. These lead to the vision for 2025 of ‘new electrification schemes are meeting cost and disruption criteria’.

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