As the winner of UK government funding for railway innovations at the Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE), hyperTunnel is going to advance underpass which is one of 16 schemes and will be demonstrated at GCRE’s Dulais Valley site in South Wales this year.
Benefiting AI, digital surveying and swarm robotics to effectively 3D print a structure in the ground before any excavation takes place,this underpass is due to demonstrate hyperTunnel’s swarm construction technique. In order to progress faster and less expensive to deliver, and carry less risk, less disruption, less waste as well as a lower carbon footprint than current cut-and-cover construction techniques,this approach has been designed.
Along with advantages such as improving safety, increasing rail capacity and avoiding inconvenience to road and rail users, the project’s intention is to provide an economically viable alternative to hazardous level crossings. Construction of a 20m-long pedestrian-sized tunnel beneath a GCRE test track will be up to hyperTunnel, while the track will remain open throughout the construction process.
The responsibility of funding this project is up to the Department for Business and Trade through the competition GCRE: Railway Construction Innovation Phase 2 delivered by InnovateUK in collaboration with GCRE.
According to hyperTunnel co-founder Steve Jordan: “We are delighted that the GCRE sees the same potential in the hyperTunnel method as our partners in the construction industry. Having spent many hundreds of hours developing our robot fleet in the lab in Basingstoke, the system is now ripe for being proven on a real site, in accelerated test conditions, and which can be visited by interested parties. The GCRE facility is going to be a huge opportunity for us and we can’t wait to get started and to present a feasible technological solution to the long-standing level-crossing issue.”
As a world class facility for rail research, testing and certification of rolling stock, infrastructure and cutting-edge technologies, the GCRE currently is under construction in South Wales. Located on a 700ha site, GCRE is slated to become Europe’s premier site for rail and mobility innovation and act as an incubator for pioneering projects.