In collaboration with a unique team of leading researchers in the fields of engineering, rail technology and composite manufacturing, Furrer+Frey GB developed a new railway mast made of composite material. This mast only weighs 20% of the weight of a regular mast made of steel, which means easier handling on site, whilst achieving similar strength and durability.

The greatest advantage though is the massive reduction of energy use in manufacturing, installation and maintenance, which significantly reduces costs and carbon emissions, making this a great solution for a greener and more sustainable railway electrification. Embedded smart sensors, providing self-detecting damage data directly to the owner, cut back the need for manual checks and reduce downtime, thus increases efficiency savings. The Innovative MAst for Green Electrification (IMAGE) was one of the winners of UK’s First-of-A-Kind 2021 rail competition and is currently undergoing extensive testing. Hopefully it can soon be used on electrification projects in the UK and the rest of the world.

Many thanks to our partners at Cranfield University, Prodrive Composites Ltd, University of Southampton, Newcastle University and TruckTrain who helped realise this project.