Siemens couples up with University of Birmingham for Goole rail innovation

Siemens Mobility and University of Birmingham have agreed to the development of a centre of excellence for rail research and innovation at the new site in Goole, bringing forward a further 250 jobs.

The £50 million innovation hub forms part of an extensive rail village in East Yorkshire, where the first London Underground trains will emerge from in 2023.

The university was revealed as a potential partner a year ago, and now a formal memorandum of understanding has been signed between the parties.

As founding partners in the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network, this latest development is described as “a natural progression”.

The direct and supplier jobs are in addition to the 700 at the rail plant – now under construction – and it will be built as part of the second phase of an innovation hub known as the Rail Accelerator and Innovations Solutions Hub for Enterprise – RaisE.

William Wilson, chief executive of Siemens Mobility Ltd, said: “We are delighted to be working with the University of Birmingham on these exciting plans to take rail innovation in the UK – and beyond – to the next level.

An image of the new Piccadilly Line train, the first to be built by Siemens Mobility in Goole.
An image of the new Piccadilly Line train, the first to be built by Siemens Mobility in Goole.
(Image: PA)

“This is a development of international significance. It not only delivers on the levelling up agenda but gives clear signals to the wider industry that the UK is at the forefront of railway innovation, research and development and is open for global collaboration.”

The centre is aimed at accelerating the adoption of technology within the rail industry and will provide practical and virtual training, prototyping labs and focus on industry innovation – including future and advanced technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence.

RaisE will also spotlight decarbonisation and alternative traction technologies – such as battery and hydrogen – to drive forward the UK’s net-zero agenda, as well as increasing reliability and availability with the latest digital solutions.

Prof Tim Jones, Provost and Vice-Principal at the University of Birmingham, said: “Signing this MoU further strengthens our partnership with Siemens Mobility and builds upon our world leading railway expertise based out of our new, state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence in Digital Systems and School of Engineering.

“We are looking forward to further developing our joint plans for this exciting centre in the coming weeks.”

It follows the recent release of images and specifications of the first trains to emerge for the Piccadilly Line.

A new image of how Siemens Mobility Ltd's Goole train manufacturing plant will look.
A new image of how Siemens Mobility Ltd’s Goole train manufacturing plant will look.
(Image: Siemens Mobility Ltd)

Sambit Banerjee, managing director of rolling stock and customer services for Siemens Mobility Ltd, said: “This is real and demonstrable progress of plans to turn Goole into the railway hub of the future and make the most of the talent there is in the local area.

“For us, Goole is about much more than railway manufacturing. It’s about creating an internationally recognised hub of railway excellence and I’m delighted that the University of Birmingham shares this vision.”

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In total RaisE will occupy a five-acre site. Construction of the first phase, comprising offices for East Riding Council, Siemens Mobility and The Rail Alliance part of the Birmingham Centre for Rail Research and Education at the University, with additional space for SME occupants and collaborative working areas, is due to open in 2022. This latest development – Phase Two – is planned to open a year later.

The proposal is to implement live test bed / living lab concepts to trial innovative new technologies and increase their adoption as quickly as possible.

Business Live – West Midlands