The Rail Safety and Standards Board’s (RSSB) Test Voucher Scheme (TVS) gives up to (typically) three days’ subsidised access to test and trials facilities within the UK to assist UK-based companies in developing their products, goods and services for the rail sector. Typically, this assistance is offered to companies transiting through the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4–7 space – the facilities used may be primary, secondary or tertiary facilities at a number of locations around the UK. Depending on individual requirements this may include test loop and infrastructure, traction, rolling stock and trials of staff time.
The rolling stock and track is available for the fitment of trial or new context products, and destructive as well as non-destructive testing is permissible. There are very few restrictions on this activity and it can be conducted 24/7, although this may attract an additional cost if out of normal working hours; that said, there must be a clear value proposition that the testing and trialling is required to provide an improved level of service or value for money across – for instance – the “Four Cs” of Carbon, Cost, Capacity and Customer. See the Rail Technology Strategy (RTS) for more information.
Ordinarily, the maximum value gained per company/consortium through the scheme from the 3 days’ testing or trialling is £3000 per company per product. Although the site at QRTC has been used for 250+ company test days since 2013 the Rail Alliance keeps a record of other primary, secondary and tertiary testing facilities to ensure that the best possible match is made between test requirement and test location. Although in the process of being updated, the list of rail testing and trialling sites can be added to should you be able to offer such a facility within the UK. Once complete, this database of test and trial facilities will be hosted on this web page and will be continuously updated as a matter of course.
Where companies require to carry our testing and trialling in the TRL 8–9 space there would be an expectation on behalf of RSSB that funding would be in place from the eventual customer to enable this testing to take place.
- Enables the practical development, trialling and demonstration of innovative or new solutions for the rail market.
- Open to qualifying businesses and academic/research bodies.
All that is required is a brief outline of the proposal and then a member of the team will then contact you to discuss the details and to make a firm booking. Applicants will be encouraged to either attend one of the monthly QRTC briefing days or, if that is not possible, to arrange a visit to the QRTC site to better understand the requirements of the proposed testing/trialling.
There are no formal restrictions in terms of TRLs although this scheme is targeted at the latter stages of the route to market, e.g. TRL 4–7.
Once a trial plan has been agreed, a risk assessment and a safe system of work submitted, the activity can take place and on conclusion applicants will be required to conduct a post-event review with a member of the Rail Alliance staff. This will form the basis of the case study which will be shared with RSSB; however, IPR remain at all times the property of the applicant who will be responsible for ensuring that its own needs for confidentiality are met through a mutually acceptable documentation process as required.
Applications should be made direct to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘RSSB RTVS’ in the subject line – or contact Robert Hopkin on 01789 720026.