Competition Brief


In February 2014 the 'Long Term Passenger Rolling Stock Strategy for the Rail Industry' was published. The strategy sets out a 30 year vision for GB rolling stock. The vision calls for a dramatic increase in the number of new vehicles being procured to nearly double the size of the fleet and to replace vehicles which are nearing the end of their serviceable life.

In December 2012, the GB rail industry published its Rail Technical Strategy (RTS), which presents a 30 year vision for the GB railway. Figure 1 depicts a possible vision of the future from the RTS Future Railway video. Underpinning this vision is the industry's '4C' objectives, namely halving costs, doubling capacity, reducing carbon and delighting customers, without negatively impacting safety or operational reliability.

Rolling stock plays a central role in the delivery of each of the 4C objectives. The costs of operating the railway are linked to not only the leasing costs for rolling stock, but also the damage to track infrastructure caused by vehicles using the network. The environmental footprint of the railway is significantly better than most current forms of transport. However, significant opportunities for improving the carbon footprint exist. Traction energy accounts for approximately two thirds of all greenhouse gas emissions from the GB railway, increasing the energy efficiency of rolling stock could have significant impact. Much of the existing fleet of rolling stock is made from steel. The use of novel, lightweight and more sustainable materials could have significant benefits in reducing energy use and the embodied carbon content of the fleet. Trains are intrinsically linked to customers' experience of the railway, with demand for travel projected to increase against a backdrop of changing population demographics. Finally increasing the capacity of the railway, whilst constrained by infrastructure and the operational model, needs vehicles which enable the full potential capacity to be delivered through exceptional reliability and low station dwell times.

— Figure 1. Rolling Stock as depicted in the RTS Future Railway video presentation, but what will these vehicles really be like and what will be their capabilities?

The Challenge

The challenge is twofold and applicants are asked to enter applications against either or both challenges:

4Cs Train Challenge:

Long-term time horizon designs for rolling stock that push the envelope of what is possible.

The purpose of this challenge is to identify novel design concepts for rolling stock by exploring the extremes of what could be possible by focusing the design brief down on delivering against each of the railway's 4C objectives (reduction in cost and carbon emissions and increased capacity and customer satisfaction) in isolation. Designers will be asked to 'blend' elements of these extreme designs together to generate a holistic vehicle design of the future. Designs should be conceptual in nature but be implementable on the current GB network (part of the detail design deliverable is the identification of current barriers to implementation).

The following is a list of questions which designers may consider addressing in their design (the list is not exhaustive):

  • Cost Reduction - how will the proposed innovation achieve a cost reduction? Has whole life cost been considered? Has the cost reduction been quantified in terms of a potential annual saving?
  • Carbon Reduction - how will the proposed innovation achieve a Carbon reduction? Does the carbon calculation consider the whole manufacturing process? Does the innovation provide year on year savings? Has the Carbon reduction been quantified in terms of a potential annual saving?
  • Capacity improvement - how will the proposed innovation achieve a Capacity improvement? Has the improvement been quantified? How is this demonstrated?
  • Customer Experience improvement - how will the proposed innovation achieve an improvement in customer experience? How will it be measured?

Designers are encouraged to use novel, lightweight more sustainable materials as part of their design concept.

Next-gen train interiors Challenge:

Medium-term time horizon designs for rolling stock interiors with a focus on flexibility and adaptability.

The purpose of this challenge is to develop entirely new concepts for the interior fitment of a train, which allow the utility of the train to be adapted either 'on the fly' or during breaks in service provision e.g. at turnarounds or at depots. Designs should fit within the space available on typical existing GB rolling stock vehicle classes.

The following is a list of questions which designers may consider addressing in their design (the list is not exhaustive):

  • Adaptability: Can the design be reconfigured 'on the move', at turnaround or overnight? Can the design fit within existing rolling stock vehicles? What classes are addressed (1st, standard, Business, Premium, other)? Does the design take account of changing demographics (age, size, accessibility)? Does the design consider different types of traveller (commuter, long distance)? Does the design consider luggage or cycle storage? Does the design enhance the passenger experience?
  • Novelty: What differentiates this design from others that may exist?
  • Dwell time: Does the design facilitate efficient access and egress and assist in minimising dwell times?

Competition Process

The competition will be run using the process shown in Figure 2. - Activities for applicants are shown in red and those for the competition organisers in blue.

— Figure 2. Competition Process

The competition is open to architects, engineers, designers, universities, single companies, organisations from private or public sector, or collaborations who will be capable of designing to the competition brief.

Developments will be 100% funded and suppliers for each project will be selected by an open competition process and retain the intellectual property rights (IPR) generated from the project, with certain rights of use retained by RSSB on behalf of the FutureRailway team.

Launch and Application

Applications can be submitted against either of the two challenges. Multiple applications against either challenge are permitted. Applicants will be required to provide:

  1. A completed part 1 application form.
  2. A maximum of 2x No. A1 sheets illustrating the design concept
  3. A written design statement (maximum of 500 words) in support of the submission.
  4. A key image of the design for publicity purposes.

The application form will be made available following registration to the competition. The application form is divided into 2 parts. Part 1 will be used in the initial assessment of applications to arrive at a shortlist of applicants. Shortlisted applicants will be asked to complete part 2 of the application form which will require day rates and time estimates for taking their design forward through the development stage of the competition. It should be noted that applicants are bidding for a fixed sum at each stage and should therefore consider, from the outset, how they will deliver subsequent stages of the competition if they are successful.

The purpose of the design concept illustrations is to allow the judging panel to identify applicants to take forward to stage 1 of the competition (development). Therefore, the design concepts should clearly communicate the key ideas that make the designs novel without necessarily providing a lot of detail. A coherent design philosophy and 'language' will be viewed favourably. For the 4Cs challenge applicants are asked to first provide design concepts that address each of the 4C objectives in isolation and a 'blended' design that showcases how key design elements can be brought together into a single vehicle design.

Assess 1 - Assessment of Applications

The assessment of applications is split into two phases. For phase 1 only the first 3 criteria will be used to generate a shortlist of potential applications to take forward. Following phase 1 shortlisted candidates will be asked to complete part 2 of the application form and the Judging Panel will be asked to score each submission based on all the following questions. Minimum thresholds will apply for all criteria.

# Criteria Marks
  Phase 1  
1 How well does the proposal meet the technical specifications detailed in the Brief? 20
2 How plausible is the design concept? 20
3 How innovative is this design? To what extent does the design develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools or technologies for this area? 20
  Phase 2  
4 To what extent does the proposal show a clear plan for the development of a suitable output to demonstrate the design concept? 10
5 How effectively will the project be managed? 10
6 To what extent do the applicant and any sub-contractor(s) appear to have the right skills, capabilities and experience to deliver the intended benefits? 10
7 Are the costs appropriate, (reflecting fair market value) and justified? 10

For the avoidance of doubt there is no guarantee of funding if an application is shortlisted to phase 2 of the assessment of the competition.

Applicants may be invited to present their designs to a panel of judges as part of the assessment process.

All applicants are advised to consider criteria 4-7 during the development of their proposal as they will only be provided a week to submit part 2 of the application form should they be shortlisted.

Successful applicants will be invited to progress to the development stage of the competition which will be 100% funded based on the funding request provided in the application. The award will be a fixed sum up to a maximum value of £75k (incl. VAT).

Develop -
Moving from Concept to outline design

All Stage 1 projects should last no longer than 6 months and be finished in time for the submission date of 19th December 2014. Projects may be shorter in duration but assessment will not be done until after 19th December 2014.

It is likely that applicants who successfully make it through to the development stage will need to engage with the rolling stock supply chain to: further develop their designs; confirm their feasibility; and demonstrate route to market.

In formulating proposals for Stage 2 it is expected that applicants will need to develop consortia in order to delivery their demonstrator. To facilitate the development of consortia the FutureRailway Team will organise a supply chain event during the development period to allow the successful applicants to meet members of the rail supply chain that might help them to deliver Stage 2 (Build).

As part of Stage 1, consideration of existing rolling stock standards will be required. A panel of standards experts from the (RSSB) will be made available during Stage 1 to advise on where designs can be adjusted to comply with standards or identify where standards may need revision to bring the proposed designs into compliance. Both outcomes are equally valid.

The design output from this stage will be a deliverable that enables successful applicants to demonstrate the business case for further funding. This may take any form including but not limited to: a scale model; or a virtual 3D model. Applicants should choose an output that they feel best demonstrates their design concepts.

In addition to the design output, applicants will be asked to submit a proposal, setting out the work required to complete the detailed design and bring the design 'off the page'. Further details regarding proposals for Stage 2 will be provided to successful Stage 1 applicants. However, they should, as a minimum, be designed to demonstrate the fundamental elements of the design concept and could include full scale mock-ups as appropriate. Stage 2 proposals should be fully costed including activities for supply chain partners and vehicle integrators and manufacturers (OEMs) where appropriate. Proposals should not exceed £750k.

Assess 2 -
Selection of outline designs to be taken forward to detailed design and full scale demonstration.

Dependent upon the success of the Stage 1 projects and following assessment of Stage 2 proposals we expect to select 4-5 projects in to stage 2 and at least one proposal from each challenge for funding.

Technical Specification

The following technical specification has been developed to assist potential applicants in responding to the competition:

The 4Cs Challenge

Designs must fit within the one of the space envelopes shown in the provided Excel file "notional gauge", (e.g. the Suburban Vehicle (up to 20m length), the InterCity Vehicle (up to 23m length) or the High Speed Vehicle (up to 26m length).

Applicants should note that all entries will be judged against each other and no distinction between vehicles will be made.

Designs must be for a whole vehicle (car/carriage) or optionally vehicles within a train, should the design philosophy necessitate the use of multiple distinct vehicles in combination.

Designs must utilise a wheel on steel rail interface and require no or minimal reciprocal changes to the track infrastructure to work effectively e.g. maglev is outside of scope. Designs which require limited modification to station infrastructure to work will be permitted.

Designs which require an operational change will be considered provided a whole system benefit can be demonstrated and evaluated. However, in such cases a migration strategy must be provided to demonstrate how the design may operate within the current operation of the railway.

Designs may include consideration of traction energy supply e.g. electric from Overhead Line Equipment or alternatives. However, locomotive design is out of scope.

The vehicle should provide space for the common functional elements of a train either within a single carriage or as a composite of vehicles. The space available for these elements may be based on existing designs or on novel design concepts for these elements. For novel design concepts for individual elements detailed designs are not mandatory, but evidence should be provided that the concept is feasible. Some common functional elements of the train include, but are not limited to:

  • Vehicle control
  • Locomotion/traction
  • Braking
  • Suspension
  • Lighting/windows
  • Seating
  • Temperature control e.g. heating, ventilation and air conditioning
  • Toilet(s)
  • Entry and egress
  • Wheelchair access
  • Electrical supply
  • Facilities for passenger information

Train signalling and command and control systems are out of scope.

Next-gen train interiors challenge:

Although this challenge is directed at new innovative interiors for vehicles which may not exist at present, it is expected that the current interior and exterior profiles of new rolling stock over the next ten years are unlikely to change significantly. Whilst the competition is not aimed at the retrofit market, bidders may wish to consider this as an initial route to market.

Bidders may design to one of the internal envelopes provided for the Suburban, or Long Distance vehicle (see Excel file "notional gauge"). A supplementary design showing how the design concept could be extended to make use of the additional interior space available for the High Speed interior profile must also be provided.

Applicants should note that all entries will be judged against each other and no distinction between vehicles will be made.

Modification of doors, windows and their placement within the vehicle body is permitted

The designs must not detrimentally impact vehicle dwell time and should, if possible, reduce station dwell times.

Use of space under the floor of the vehicle is permitted within the design brief for placement of ancillaries and other system and sub-system structures. However, no change to existing 2 axle vehicle bogies, or their placement, is permitted.

The designs can address either or both of the following aspirations:

  • Interiors which can be reconfigured 'on-the-move' by members of the travelling public as need dictates
  • Interiors which can be reconfigured by the operator during vehicle turnaround or overnight at the depot.

The design must be for a whole vehicle interior. E.g. a design for a seat must be combined with other vehicle interior elements to show how this would work in the context of a whole vehicle interior design philosophy.

Supported by:

In association with:

Competition Contact

The competition is being administered by RIBA Competitions, to whom any enquiries relating to the general conditions of this competition should be addressed.

: 0113 203 1490