On behalf of the Rail Supply Group RFM is leading the Midlands Pilots workstream as part of the Rail Sector Deal.  This workstream comprises two ‘pilots’; one of which is focussed on identifying opportunities for SMEs to collaborate to solve real ‘challenges’ and respond to opportunities provided by clients. This challenge falls into this pilot so to get involved you need to be an SME willing to work in collaboration with others!

The first challenge, launched in July 2020 relates to rolling stock lightweighting (further information here) and we are now delighted to provide some advance information for our upcoming second challenge.

This new challenge launched on 21 October, focuses on Opportunities for Decarbonising Freight. We are working with Tarmac, a major end customer for rail freight together with the University of Derby and several potential clients including freight operators, wagon companies and asset managers. These are all listed below against the various themes they have a specific interest in. (Companies in bold are leading the theme):

  • Data Management & Telematics (with interest from Tarmac, DB Cargo, ERMEWA, Freightliner, GBRF)
  • Locomotives & Wagons (with interest from ERMEWA, DB Cargo, Freightliner, GBRF, VTG)
  • Driver Management and Path Improvements (with interest from DB Cargo, Freightliner, GBRF, Network Rail)
  • Terminal Management and Improvements (with interest from VTG, ERMEWA, Freightliner, GBRF, Network Rail, Tarmac)

Our online launch event provided further details on the challenge together with the process and timeframes for SMEs to respond.  Useful information from the event can be found below. This includes a general set of FAQs about the Rail Sector Deal Midlands Pilots and two sets of slides which provide a lot of very useful detail about the opportunities that our clients have for SMEs

FAQ -SME Challenge – Decarbonisation in Freight 

SME Collaboration Decarbonising Freight Part 1

SME Collaboration Decarbonising Freight Part 2


Key Dates are:

Launch event                                                                 21 October 2020

Responses to initial questions from SMEs            sent 18 November  2020

Initial ideas submissions by *                                  18 December 2020

Selection of initial ideas for Dragon’s Den            8 January 2021

Initial Dragon’s Den                                                   w/c 18 or 25  January 2021 (exact dates to be confirmed)

* all submissions must be made using the standard template  SME Decarb Challenge Written submission

To find out more about the challenge and to get involved please contact robert@midlandsrail.co.uk