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Skyefall Project may benefit from rail technology tested by UKTram Friday February 16, 2024

An innovative project aimed at improving a vital transport route in the Highlands of Scotland has come under the spotlight during a recent meeting of the UKTram Centre of Excellence.

Known as Skyefall, the project by Network Rail, HI TRANS and Mainspring could see the introduction of a rail/road share scheme utilising new track technologies trialled previously by UK Tram.

In a presentation to the Centre, Alex Dodds of Network Rail explained that it could be used on land adjacent to the Dingwall to Kyle of Lochalsh line on a section alongside the A890 road between Cuddies Point and Ardnaff, which is prone to damage and disruption due to frequent rockfalls.

Colin Robey, Chair of the Centre of Excellence, explained: “Using trackform suitable for trams, tram/train, or heavy rail, the project is not only looking at shared physical infrastructure but also the unification of the control systems.

“Now project partners are looking for further funding streams and to meet with other interested parties, and we would like to thank Network Rail for the update on the proposals that, if successful, could lead to many potential cost savings for both heavy and light rail sectors in the future.”

The meeting also received an update on a study into tram rear bogie derailment detection by the Institute of Railway Research at Huddersfield University.

Members heard that a report on the research was due to be presented, but further discussions were planned before wider distribution.

Colin added: “During another informative and productive meeting, there was also an update from Simon Coulthard, also from Network, on Restore Your Railway projects involving the Centre of Excellence, while plans are also being put in place for a Governance Working Group to look at the base costs of building and operating a tramway.”