Category: Rail News

2022: A Reflection

3Squared A Reflection on 2022

As we near the end of 2022, it is time for us to take stock and reflect on the year’s experiences, our achievements, the lessons we have learned and plan for what is to come in 2023.

There is no denying that this year has certainly been action-packed, with several key achievements made across our organisation. First and foremost, a recent milestone we are proud to have achieved is our recognition as winners of the First of a Kind (FOAK) competition, organised by the Department for Transport and Innovate UK.

This recognition will enable us to further develop our PathPlanner tool to improve freight operations and unlock network capacity across the UK rail network. To be recognised in such a prestigious competition is a real milestone for 3Squared and something we are extremely proud of.

Following on from the above, a key focus for us next year will be the further development of our PathPlanner tool, led by Jason Durk, Principal Consultant.

PathPlanner is an innovative software solution designed to help freight operators run additional trains. It does this by utilising over 7 years’ worth of historical train records to help planners quickly identify available paths, which can be bid to Network Rail through the Very Short-Term Planning (VSTP) process – therefore allowing them to take advantage of much needed spare, and potentially wasted, capacity.

You can read more about PathPlanner and its intended roll out over on Jason’s ‘Meet the team’ here and an interview Martin Gleadow, Head of Customer Success, had with RSSB on their podcast at the start of the year, here.

Back in April, we were also selected for the Department for Transport’s ‘Transport Research Innovation Grants Programme’ (TRIG). These grants are designed to support feasibility and proof of concept projects, that will foster innovation within the UK transport sector, generate growth and cultivate links between the policy teams in the Department for Transport and innovators across the UK. Read more on the project and what it means for our industry, here.

It has been positive to see the continued uptake and usage of our products across the UK rail sector, including RailSmart and EDS. We started the year with a rebrand of the RailSmart product suite, to streamline the brand aesthetic and enable us to keep up to date with the rail industry’s evolving demands for seamless, efficient and easy to use tools and technologies.

This year also marked a return to a ‘new normal’ as we emerged from the pandemic into the world of hybrid working. It has been great to interact with colleagues in our Sheffield HQ, yet also retain our work-life balance through providing staff with the opportunity to work remotely. It is safe to say that this model of working is going well, and we look forward to continuing with it next year.

After two years of remote events, it was also enjoyable to get back to the world of face-to-face events this year. From Rail Live, to RIA and RFG hosted events and much more, to get out and about to events across the UK has been fantastic, as Graham Cooper, our Head of Product & Marketing, addressed in a blog earlier this year.

We are also proud to not only have retained staff this year but grow the team. We have made a number of key hires this year, from Martine Dodwell-Bennett joining the team as Divisional Director, to the expansion of our marketing team in the form of Graham Cooper as Head of Product & Marketing, Ross Bray as our Technical Services Director and Marie Hanby as Marketing Manager. Bringing in knowledge and expertise from other sectors continues to be a strength for 3Squared, and we are excited to grow the team further in 2023.

Finally, we would like to take the time to thank every single employee, client, partner, and peer that we have either met or continued to engage with, this year. Without your continuous support, we would not be the organisation that we are proud to be today, with an open, innovative, and enthusiastic culture at our core. We wish you all a fantastic festive break and look forward to seeing what 2023 has in store.

If you would like to hear more from the 3Squared team on how they can help make change work in your business in the year ahead, get in touch today.

3Squared Named Winner in Department for Transport and Innovate UK’s ‘First of a Kind’ (FOAK) Competition

Freight Train

Rail software and solutions specialist 3Squared have secured funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) and Innovate UK’s ‘First of a Kind’ (FOAK) competition, to further develop its PathPlanner tool to improve freight operations and unlock network capacity, across the UK rail network.

The FOAK competition aims to support and enable new projects to help create a greener, more efficient railway for all. This year’s competition focused on new concepts that will transform rail travel for passengers and decarbonise the network.

PathPlanner is an innovative software solution designed to help freight operators run additional trains. It does this by utilising over 7 years’ worth of historical train records to help planners quickly identify available paths which can be bid to Network Rail through the Very Short-Term Planning (VSTP) process – therefore allowing them to take advantage of much needed spare, and potentially wasted, capacity.

Jason Durk, Principal Consultant at 3Squared, commented: “It is fantastic that 3Squared have secured prestigious FOAK funding to further develop and enhance PathPlanner, a system that we hope will transform the rail freight industry – especially at a time when the sector is undergoing significant growth and it has never been more important to focus on reducing carbon emissions.

“At 3Squared, we have been working hard to create solutions that support the drive towards modal shift, moving freight from road to rail and supporting the industry’s aim to be both greener and more responsive. Through innovative application of technology, we look forward to making this a reality with PathPlanner, bolstered by wider industry support.”

For more information on the FOAK competition, please click here.

3Squared’s Monthly Media Insights, November 2022

3Squared Monthly Media Insight - Martin Gleadow, Customer Success

After an eventful summer in the world of rail, Martin Gleadow, Solution Architect at 3Squared, reflects on the recent news stories making the headlines from across the industry:

“During the month of September, the nation lost its longest reigning monarch, HRH Queen Elizabeth II. Like many companies, we observed the mourning period by temporarily pausing all communication as a mark of respect. The loss of Queen Elizabeth II created a sombre tone across the industry and led the industry to reflect on the role of rail in the life of Queen Elizabeth II. We also look to the future and the impact that King Charles III and his environmental pedigree will have upon the industry and how the rail industry can support his aims in return.

“The modal shift has been a consistent theme over the course of the past few months, for both people and freight within the industry. For instance, The University of Birmingham and Pass Logistics, a multi-modal freight company, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to look at ways of shifting containerised goods from road to rail to support modal shift and decarbonisation; key priorities that resonate with us at 3Squared.

“Through this collaboration, they aim to help organisations better understand their carbon output, and the relative impacts and costs of alternatives. Pass Logistics estimates that a full train could replace 80 lorries and bring a 75% reduction in carbon emissions.

“The UK’s rail sector represents the most environmentally friendly option in terms of public transport, often seen as the most sustainable method for mass travel and commuting. In a further step towards creating a greener, more sustainable railway, Network Rail has revealed an agreement with EDF Renewables UK which will see railway stations, offices and depots powered through solar energy.

“There are increasingly positive stories in the rail media about the creative ways in which businesses are considering doing things to cut demand upon carbon. For instance, in a time of high temperatures and low rainfall, solar energy is making a bigger contribution than is generally realised, and rail has plenty of property where solar panels could reduce the demand on the grid.

“On the subject of greener rail, there is an interesting development on potential areas for decarbonisation. As an article in Rail Advent recently addressed, ‘[The TP-UK range of shunting locomotives] offer significant improvements over the Class 08, lower fuel consumption is an obvious benefit – for example, to move a 1,000-tonne train, the TPUK 3-63 (comparable with the TP-70 shown at Long Marston) will consume just 34 litres of diesel per hour, compared with a Class 08 which will consume 437 litres. Over a 16-hour working day (including five hours’ idle time), this could potentially save more than £4,000 compared with a Class 08.’

“It was fantastic to read about HS2’s annual Equality, Diversity and Inclusion report which found that the company continues to challenge its supply chain, and the wider rail engineering and construction sectors, to advocate for inclusivity.

“Across the supply chain, HS2’s performance continues to beat industry averages for the number of female and BAME employees working on the project, with the supply chain achieving 28% and 18% respectively. The article highlights the positive impact of rail on society, which ties into the industry working for the country.

“In September, we celebrated an East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP) key milestone with the successful completion of testing with digital signalling for High Speed Train (HST) Class 43 power cars forming part of Network Rail’s New Measurement Train (NMT).

“As 3Squared have been involved in the East Coast Digital Programme project, it’s great to track the progress and see another milestone achieved. Enhancing the railway through innovative technology is key to achieving the digital railway of the future.

“The last three months has seen a great deal of political change, which can’t be ignored. Although, at the time of writing, we are still awaiting updates on what the policy direction will be for rail including HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. There has been news of potential delays to Great British Railways due to other priorities in the legislative agenda, but we are hopeful the plans will still go ahead.

“With all the uncertainty surrounding the political landscape of rail, the ECDP continues to be a positive force and something we are proud to have played a role in. Rail Technology Magazine (Rail Technology Magazine : August September 2022), highlighted how pioneering the digital upgrade of the East Coast Main Line has been, and how it has remained relatively unchanged since the Victorian times, until now.

“More positive news in October came from a report by the Office of Rail & Road (ORR) which revealed that Network Rail had been able to make efficiencies of £840 million surpassing their target by £10 million, thanks to the adoption of new technologies. It is important to be able to showcase that rail is delivering on commitments.

“Finally in October, we saw a great initiative from Northern, offering residents of North Yorkshire and Cumbria half price rail tickets throughout winter. Not only will it help people to save money on travel, but it will also reduce the amount of cars on the road, cultivating new ways for the industry to contribute to society and build relationships with local communities.”

If you would like to hear more from Martin and the 3Squared team on how they can support your business, get in touch today.

Forging Connections Across the Rail Industry

3Sqared Forging Connections

An insight by Graham Cooper, Head of Product & Marketing at 3Squared.

“Since joining the rail industry earlier this year, it has been an interesting learning curve getting to grips with the sector. What strikes me is just how enthusiastic people who work in this industry are. Similar to my experience in the education sector, it is fantastic to be part of an industry which places collaboration and relationships at its heart, connected by the dedication its people have to make a meaningful difference.

“It has been brilliant getting out and about across the UK, meeting with industry leaders and a breadth of organisations to find out more about what makes the industry tick and how 3Squared can continue its work in creating technologies and solutions that make a positive impact on the day-to-day running of the rail network.

“A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting GB Railfreight’s (GBRf) HQ to learn more about how they are using a wide range of 3Squared’s RailSmart software suite to manage their rail freight logistics operations. I’m looking forward to working more closely with the team at GBRf to help further develop the software and help embed the RailSmart suite into their operational fabric.

“An impressive customer visit I had recently was at the SCS HS2 logistics facility in Willesden Junction. The team there are making use of an impressive range of technologies, including 3Squared’s specially built BulkSmart solution, which is sitting at the heart of the programme office on huge screens.

“BulkSmart is used to model, plan, order and monitor the removal of the soil on GBRf freight trains to various landfill sites around the country, ensuring the pile never grows too large. This is an operation that will take 1,000’s of HGVs off our roads during the project, freeing up roads and reducing CO2 emissions at the same time. It is fascinating work, and you can learn more about the HS2 logistics operation here.

“I also had the pleasure of attending the Rail in the North event sponsored by Modern Railways. There were a range of great presentations and topics, from how operators are evolving to deliver better service for passengers (Northern and TPE), to how Liverpool and Manchester are moving ahead with modern, integrated, and accessible transport ecosystems (I’m especially looking forward to this happening in my home city of Manchester).  It was interesting to hear how the Northern Powerhouse Rail project is forging ahead with impressive changes that will deliver a modern link between Manchester and York. Thanks to the team at Modern Railways for inviting me along to the event.

“I also recently received an invite to the CILT Rail Study Forum dinner, a great event for those working in rail to meet and share experiences and opinions. I’m in wholehearted agreement with the welcome note given by CILT RSF President Charley Wallace: “We are on the cusp of the most ambitious changes to our industry in a generation. It’s an exciting and bumpy journey but it is a journey worth making in earnest, and with purpose, and a great opportunity to deliver real and much needed change for our people and customers. The railway is well placed to help the country and realise the promise of our communities and the economy in the years ahead”.

“Many thanks to my new friends and colleagues from across the industry for welcoming me with such open arms and inviting me to the various events, meetings, and offices across the country. I look forward to forging more connections and discovering more about the fascinating sector I am proud to work in.”


If you see Graham out and about, do say hello and connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you would also be interested in discussing the world of rail and more with Graham, get in touch via [email protected]

3Squared’s Monthly Media Insight, July 2022

3Squared Monthly Media Insight - Martin Gleadow, Customer Success

Welcome to the latest instalment of our monthly media insights, led by Martin Gleadow, Solution Architect at 3Squared, reflecting on July’s top news stories in the rail industry, from rail safety to innovative approaches.

Read Martin’s thoughts on the industry’s recent news stories, below:

“In July, extreme weather made waves in headlines of both trade publications and national news, impacting all aspects of life here in the UK, including the railways. During the heatwave, a number of areas in the UK reached 40 degrees Celsius, which can lead to steel rails hitting temperatures of up to 20 degrees above air temperature – almost 60 degrees Celsius.

“As those working in the rail industry know, this level of heat can have an intense impact on the railway creating unsafe conditions, with tracks buckling and power lines down. With these safety concerns in mind, passengers were advised not to travel, and many services were cancelled.

“In response to the heatwave, we saw Network Rail establish a taskforce aimed at developing an approach for future heatwaves. News outlets also showcased the innovative technology currently in development such as data-driven weather mapping technology which aims to predict weather patterns and indicate the impacts that extreme climates could have on the rail network.

“The extreme weather we have seen highlights another key theme: sustainability. At 3Squared, the aims to create a greener railway and combat climate change have always been part of our vision. The heatwave has highlighted just how destructive  climate change can be causing environmental damage, widespread disruption and almost bringing the UK to a standstill. It’s clear that action needs to be taken when it comes to our climate and with rail’s green credentials, our industry is key to unlocking this.

“Following on from sustainability, safety is always a theme of focus for us at 3Squared. First of all, a delightful book Arlo’s Adventures was launched in July, exploring all things rail safety for children in an engaging way. Educating the public, particularly children and young people, about rail safety is always important, especially when we see safety concerns more and more in the media. Secondly, RSSB has emphasised the need for Non-Technical Skills, such as maintaining concentration and checking, which underpin technical tasks and overall safety.

“Excitingly, this month the shortlist for the Great British Railway Headquarters was announced. After bids initially from 42 locations, only 6 have been included in the shortlist: Birmingham, Crewe, Derby, Doncaster, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and York.

“In a previous blog, we highlighted the benefits that making Doncaster #DestinationGBR could bring to our wider region of South Yorkshire, including increased investment and job opportunities. Transport for the North (TfN) has also shared a campaign to bring GBR HQ to the north stating that ‘Great British Railways national headquarters can be anywhere as long as it’s based in the North’, citing geographical, heritage-based and ‘levelling up’ factors.

“When it comes to our local areas here in Sheffield, we’ve also seen some interesting news in terms of the regional transport network. Following the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority’s (SYMCA) bid for the Barrow Hill line reopening as part of the Restoring Your Railways scheme, the government have approved the bid to go forward to the next stage, one of only 9 in England and Wales. This restored line will run from Chesterfield to Sheffield, via Barrow Hill.  Furthermore, this news could also strengthen the case for the revival of the Don Valley Line, from Stocksbridge to Sheffield, and the re-opening Victoria station.

“Whilst on the subject of regional transport networks, a recent study found a disparity between the North and South in terms of public transport. It observed that people living in the Midlands and North find it harder to use public transport to cut carbon emissions. Accelerating access and connectivity in these areas is therefore important when it comes to decarbonisation and creating a greener rail network in general, as well as ensuring we have a public transport system that serves everyone across the UK.

“In rail investment news, at the start of July, we saw the announcement of £1 billion investment in digital signalling on the East Coast Main Line. This funding will replace ageing signalling systems with new digital upgrades. We’re pleased to have been involved in this project transforming the East Coast Main Line by developing part of the training and simulation solutions for the East Coast Digital Programme. This project is an exciting step toward creating the digital railway of the future, using digital train control technology to enable a more dynamic, reliable, and sustainable rail network.

“The TransPennine upgrade is another positive story in terms of investment and plans to bring full electrification and digital signalling to the route upgrade. This investment will also support the creation of a greener, digital railway.

“As always there has been plenty going on in the world of rail, we hope you enjoyed hearing more about our insights and we look forward to sharing our thoughts on August’s top stories.”


If you would be interested in hearing more from Martin and the team on 3Squared on how they can support you, get in touch today.



3Squared’s Monthly Media Insight, June 2022

3Squared Monthly Media Insight - Martin Gleadow, Customer Success

As many of those working in the rail industry understand, engaging with what is going on across our sector is key. That is why have introduced a new monthly insights feature, led by Martin Gleadow, Solution Architect at 3Squared, delving into the latest industry news stories and updates, that serve to highlight the fantastic work and innovation that is brewing across our industry. Read Martin’s thoughts on the rather busy month of June, below:  

“Having been in the rail industry for 6 years, it has been fascinating to see its evolution particularly the commitment to innovation and sustainability. This is heavily evident in the past month, from Rail Live coming back in full force to new developments being made, such as the green light for £55 million Scottish Government investment in decarbonisation, which tie in nicely into freight operations and the wider supply chain, highlighting a renewed and evolved focus post pandemic.  

“Innovation and sustainability have been key themes in the media this month. Here at 3Squared, our commitment to a greener rail network has been at our core since our inception in 2002 and it is fantastic to see so many key players from across the industry making new pledges and investments in this area. 

“This can be seen in a diverse range of projects and research, from the new digital signalling that will be used in the Northern City line, to evo-rail’s latest report revealing that to facilitate a modal shift, a key element to reaching the UK’s Net Zero goals, improved internet connectivity is needed on trains, to entice passengers to choose rail over other modes of transport. These all signal a positive and greener future for our industry, and show much more concrete plans, rather than theoretical concepts which can often take longer to implement.  

“June saw no shortage of significant updates from HS2, which 3Squared are proud to play a supporting role in. It was fascinating to learn more about the project’s first ‘Green Tunnel’, which has been designed to blend the high-speed railway into the landscape and reduce disruption for the surrounding communities. This will also assist in improving the long-term sustainability of the project, a positive step to take.   

“It was also good to find out more information about HS2’s new plans for the wetland habitats in and around Birmingham and Fazeley Canal Viaduct. All of this shows the project’s commitment to working with the natural environment to reduce the impact of both the construction and eventual operational running of the line, to work closely with the local community and safeguard its protection going forward.  

“It has been particularly encouraging to see Freight continuing to get a boost too. As part of a new plan from the government, people across the UK will be encouraged to start a new career in logistics as part of a wider strategy to bolster the supply chain and create a more resilient and greener sector. This campaign is one part of the “Future of Freight” Plan, which we discussed in a recent piece with Freight Tracks magazine that you can read here. We are proud to work closely with the freight sector and look forward to seeing these new ideas and strategies bolstering the industry forward, particularly as we move towards the creation of the Great British Railways (GBR).  

“Talking of GBR, earlier this month the call for evidence report, as part of the Whole Industry Strategic Plan from the GBR transition team, was released. The report summarises the insights and evidence of 307 responses, with key focus areas highlighted, including: decarbonisation, accessibility, the need for a strong customer service ethos and financial sustainability, along with the importance of integrating with other transport. It is positive to hear of concrete commitments being made to making a meaningful change in the way in which the railway is managed, and we look forward to seeing how the report will shape and inform the transition going forward.  

“It was also fantastic to attend this month’s Rail Live, covered widely by the trade media. After exhibiting last year, it was great to return as a visitor and connect with our friends and colleagues from across the industry and find out about the latest infrastructure and maintenance projects that are enabling the UK rail network to run safely and efficiently. We look forward to attending in 2023! 

“As many of us working in the sector will understand, there never is a quiet month in the world of rail. We hope you have enjoyed our first monthly industry insight and we look forward to sharing our thoughts with you on the next month.” 

If you would be interested in hearing more from Martin and the team on 3Squared on how they can support you, get in touch today.  

A Look Ahead to Rail Live 2022

Rail Live 2022

Rail Live is a key event in the industry calendar, with delegates from across the UK rail sector heading to Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre in Warwickshire, for an action packed two days full of exhibitions, panels, insights, collaboration hubs and more.

The 3Squared team have always enjoyed attending Rail Live over the years and heading along this year will be Martin Gleadow, Solution Architect and Graham Cooper, Head of Product and Marketing. We recently sat down with Martin to get his thoughts on what he is looking forward to at the event next week and the benefits 3Squared are reaping from the new world of events in 2022:


What are you most excited about seeing at this year’s Rail Live? 

As well as catching up with people I’ve not seen for a while and enjoying networking events within the programme hosted by Rail Forum, I am also looking forward to seminars on productivity and sustainability as well as live demonstrations of rail, operations and the Network Rail Village showcasing a wide range of topics.

And of course, the British Transport Police (BTP) dogs will be there again – last year I met a gorgeous puppy just starting out on his training and look forward to hopefully seeing him again!


Why would you say it is a key industry event and what makes it so special? 

Rail Live is an event like no other, being held outdoors in an operational railway location. It attracts companies from across the sector, with representation from every level within an organisation from apprentice to executive.

Sometimes with conferences and exhibitions you tend to only get a specific sector or role represented, but with Rail Live everyone is there in a very informal setting. Last year I met Andrew Haines, Network Rail’s Chief Executive, over a bacon sandwich, as well as people just starting out on their rail career.


How has the event evolved since you first started attending? 

This will only be my second year at Rail Live, so it’ll be interesting to see what changes I notice from year to year. However, I understand from talking to rail industry colleagues that the event has done well at growing and evolving since it started as a rail plant show, to representing the entire supply chain.


What interesting updates from 3Squared do you anticipate delegates will be interested in hearing about at the event? 

I’m looking forward to talking about the updates we have planned for our applications, the roadmaps we are putting together, and the longer-term visions we have for how digital technology can be an enabler for innovations and improvements in the planning, operation, and management of the railway. Hopefully these updates will also interest delegates!


Why is industry networking and collaboration so important at 3Squared? 

Understanding what the wider industry is doing, the challenges people face, and what emerging trends are identified is key to understanding customers and ensuring our products meet the needs of the industry. There is no better way to do that than by talking to the people who operate the railway.

We don’t just want to react to changes though; we want to help, understand, and inform the future through collaboration across the supply chain to help rail deliver as much benefit to society as possible. Events like these are so important as they bring together a real cross section of people.


How have you found the new world of events (e.g., hybrid) since emerging from lockdown? 

It has been great to get back to in person events. Virtual events helped to bridge the gap and webinars are a very useful tool but it’s hard to overstate the importance of face-to-face contact for really building relationships and learning more.

Plenty of lessons were learned in lockdown which will be applicable even as we relax restrictions, such as better experiences for those who aren’t able to attend in person, and I hope we continue to see technology used alongside traditional events to increase accessibility and inclusion.


How important is innovation to the future of a greener, digital rail network?

Innovation is vital when it comes to addressing the challenges of running a more efficient and sustainable rail network, but we need to be careful not to assume digital solutions will solve all problems. Done right, a digital railway will help to achieve this, but innovation needs to be a solution to a problem rather than just for the sake of innovating, and it needs to include people and process as the key components with technology acting as an enabler.

We look forward to seeing our friends and colleagues from across the industry at next week’s event! If you would like to arrange a meeting with the team, get in touch with us via [email protected]

Doncaster’s Bid to Become the New Home of the Great British Railways

Doncaster's bid to become the new home of the Great British Railways HQ

Last year the Secretary of State for Transport shared the announcement that an exciting new competition will be held to find a location for the new Great British Rail (GBR) headquarters, outside of London.

The home of GBR’s HQ presents a wealth of opportunity. Not only does it have the potential to generate new opportunities across the elected region, but it will also become a key hub for the wider industry, and a foundation for new ideas and innovation to flourish.

A significant 42 towns and cities have so far responded to the call and will be evaluated against six criteria to create a shortlist, due to be released later this month. These include:

  • Alignment to ‘levelling up’ objectives
  • Connected and easy to get to
  • Opportunities for GBR
  • Railway heritage and links to the network
  • Value for money
  • Public support

Earlier this month, Martin Gleadow, Solution Architect at 3Squared, attended a Mayoral Breakfast organised by South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, The University of Sheffield, and the Chamber of Commerce for each of Sheffield, Barnsley, and Doncaster, to promote the city’s bid to become the new home of GBR’s HQ.

The breakfast featured a panel, comprising: Lindsey Gladsby, Senior Vice Principal for Careers, Employer Engagement, and Recruitment at Doncaster University Technical College; Lucy Prior MBE, Business Growth Director at Trough-Tec Systems Ltd and Chair of the Railway Industry Association’s SME Group; Steve Foxley, CEO at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre; and Oliver Coppard as mayor of the region.

The panel shared their insights into Doncaster’s bid to become the new home for GBR, highlighting how Doncaster measures up against the criteria and how the bid is a bid for all South Yorkshire, with the potential benefits serving the entire region.

Insights were provided by Steve on the research and innovation work being done across the region, a theme heavily emphasised in the Williams-Shapps report which conceived GBR, before Lucy shared insights into the wider rail supply chain and just how many companies there are with rail expertise and connections in South Yorkshire. The panel session concluded with Oliver sharing his ambitions for South Yorkshire and how success for Doncaster in this competition will help to promote the area and show future generations the possibilities which will be open to them.

Martin commented on what the appointment of Doncaster would mean for the local community: “Doncaster has a strong rail pedigree and a great location. Should it be successful in the bid to become the Home of Great British Railways it will be a great boost to both the city and the whole of South Yorkshire, showcasing to the country what we can do, while attracting investment and creating opportunities and jobs for the region.”

We look forward to seeing where Great British Rail’s new home will be and seeing the transformation it will bring to our sector. For more information on how 3Squared supports the UK rail industry through its award-winning technologies, visit our product page here.

An Insight into the RIA Innovation Conference 2022

RIA Innovation Conference 2022

Earlier this week, this year’s RIA Innovation Conference was held in Nottingham, with the rail industry coming out in force for the hotly anticipated event.

After two years of online and hybrid events, it was a fantastic opportunity for 3Squared to meet with friends and colleagues from across the industry. Representing 3Squared at the event was Martin Gleadow, our Solution Architect, and a well-known face across the industry.


Read more on Martin’s takeaways from the event below and the insights he gleaned about the future of the Great British Railways, below:

“The theme of the event this year was “Preparing for Great British Railways”, and it was fantastic to see some high-profile speakers at the event really backing this message. First up on Tuesday was Keith Williams, co-author of last year’s Williams-Shapps report, talking about the progress made by the Great British Railways Transition Team and how the culture of the organisation will be built to be representative of society and to embrace change. Emphasis was put on a need for openness and collaboration, with Great British Railways taking an ‘open by default’ view to data.

“Wednesday’s keynote followed this up with Sir Peter Hendy, Chairman of Network Rail, talking about the importance of rail to the nation and the challenges of running a highly complex and highly visible system which delivers significant economic and social value, and how success comes from remembering this is why rail exists; to meet the needs of customers. Peter also talked about his time at Transport for London and how the innovation he saw happening with the data they made available really transformed his view of open data.

“Elsewhere there were representatives from across the industry sharing their experiences and innovation journeys, as well as opportunities for the supply chain and examples of successes. Stand outs for me were Toufic Machnouk talking about the East Coast Digital Programme implementing digital signalling on a key route in the UK, and Professor Sarah Sharples sharing views on her role as Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for Transport and how she came to be working in rail.

“There were also workshop sessions both days, where on Tuesday I chose to attend an RSSB session on the Rail Technical Strategy and three of their current cohort of placement students ran through research they have undertaken into battery technology, sensors, and digital twins. The next day, I joined a Train Operating Company session, learning about how LNER and Transport for Wales approach innovation and use it to change behaviours and meet customer needs and desires.

“Outside of the formal sessions there was exhibition space and networking time, allowing me to see what a range of organisations have been up to and to catch up with people I have not seen for a while. All in all, it was a great couple of days and a valuable opportunity to meet up with representatives from across the rail industry to understand trends, challenges and opportunities and I would definitely recommend getting involved next year.”

If you would like to find out more information about how 3Squared could support you with your innovation needs, get in touch with a member of the team here or by emailing [email protected]

3Squared Selected for the Department for Transport’s 2021 Transport Research Innovation Grants Programme (TRIG)

3Squared TRIG funding

We are pleased to announce that 3Squared has been selected for the Department for Transport’s (DfT) 2021 Transport Research Innovation Grants Programme.

These grants are designed to support feasibility and proof of concept projects that will foster innovation within the UK transport sector, generate growth in the transport sector and build links between policy teams in DfT and innovators.

James Fox, Commercial Director and Co-Founder at 3Squared, commented: “It is a real achievement for 3Squared to be selected for the prestigious TRIG grant. We live and breathe innovation and have done since our inception back in 2002. We look forward to unlocking future innovations to support the UK rail industry and its shift to a greener, digital railway, aided by the grant.”

For more information on the programme, please visit the website here.