As a reminder the competition is due to close at 1.00pm on March 23rd.

The Train Operator Competition 2017 (TOC17) is now open for applications. Up to £3.25m is available for innovative solutions to improve the operational performance of the railway network and encourage greater collaboration and participation in the innovation process between the rail supply chain and the railway undertakings. By encouraging this broader participation, it is anticipated that potential solutions to key railway challenges will be focused towards the needs of the end-user customers and be provided with the best chance of reaching the market. Proposals will ideally have two or more Railway Undertakings (RU) and/or Rolling Stock Leasing Companies (ROSCOs) working in collaboration with suppliers. Proposals are encouraged to address one or more of the 4C’s (Cost, Carbon, Capacity and Customer) and be aligned to challenges/themes outlined within recent rail industry strategies such as the 2012 Rail Technical Strategy (RTS) and/or the 2017 RTS Capability Delivery Plan (CDP).

Initial work with operators has identified the following key capabilities from the RTS CDP as ones of potential interest:

  • Operations timed to the second
  • Minimal disruption to train services
  • Optimum energy use (in particular traction energy)

However, the scope of the competition is limited to these three key capabilities.

A briefing and networking event was held on Monday 11th December in Birmingham. To access the presentation slides from this event click HERE and elevator pitch slides click HERE. A video of the presentations for the day can also be found HERE.


Welcome and Introduction

Russ Noble, IXC UK Ltd

3 minutes 20 Introduction to RSSB

Howard Farbrother, RSSB

5 minutes 50 UK Rail Industry Capability Development Plan (CDP)

Howard Farbrother, RSSB

20 minutes 30 Case Study (1): Smart-Trains & TOC Ability

Chris Thompson, Enable iD and Ola Ayodele, AUKT

47 minutes Elevator Pitches: Session (1)
1 hour 33 TOC17 Competition Scope & Guidelines

Peter Ainsworth, RSSB

1 hour 54 Elevator Pitches: Session (2)

The Innovation team at Virgin Trains East Coast is looking for exciting collaboration opportunities for the TOC17 Competition. Proposed innovations should address their key business challenges, which are detailed in the document available below.

If you have a collaboration idea, please complete the template and return to (with TOC17 in the subject) by midnight on Friday 2nd February. Collaboration proposals will be reviewed by the VTEC team and innovators will be contacted if they would like to proceed with the application.

Please click HERE to download the challenges and proposal template.

If you would like to find out more about the competition and receive an application pack, register your interest by clicking here.

*Note: A Railway Undertaking is an organisation with a license to operate rail services, under certain terms and conditions such as a Train Operating Company, Freight Operating Company or Infrastructure Manager.

For competition Guidance notes, please see the attached pdf: TOC17 Applications Revised Guidance Live v3

For more details, please visit