University of Birmingham

About University of Birmingham

The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) at the University of Birmingham is one of the leading European academic research groups in the rail domain. Drawing on a team of over 130 academic staff, researchers, and PhD students, the BCRRE is actively involved in a wide range of projects. These include work in the areas of: traffic management and optimisation, remote condition monitoring, non-destructive testing, systems engineering, data and information management, cyber security, energy and power, and aerodynamics and civils. The team actively engages with the industry, other universities, and  a range of international partners in Europe, Asia, and America. The centre delivers two MSc postgraduate programmes in rail, and also offers an undergraduate programme. The centre has significant experience of undertaking collaborative research with industry through previous projects funded by agencies including the UK Department for Transport, the UK Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), UK research councils, the European Commission and national stakeholders including train operating companies and InnovateUK.

The University of Birmingham has been involved in a number of previous European Commission projects, mainly working in the areas of railway operations and future signalling systems, and condition monitoring for both infrastructure and railway vehicles. Working in projects such as ON-TIME and CAPACITY4RAIL the university was involved in fundamental concepts for future railway operations, and the development and test of algorithms for real-time traffic management. These approaches have now been taken up by industry, and the university continues to work with a number of the original project partners  to bring the approaches into practice. This area of research was expanded in IN2RAIL which also includes work on systems engineering as well as nowcasting andforecasting.

Role in the Project

The University of Birmingham will lead Work Packages 2 and 5. Professor Clive Roberts will be the lead for Work Packages 2 and 5. Several Research Fellows and PhD students will also work on the project. They will be supervised by Professor Clive Roberts, Dr Lei Chen and Dr Gemma Nicholson.


The project will bring forward innovative concepts of “moving-block” railway traffic operations by (1) advancing testing methods for ETCS Level 3 and (2) Analysing Virtual Coupling which will lead to convoys of automated trains under cooperative adaptive control.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 826347.