Amey Consulting and Finboot leverage blockchain for rail maintenance

13 July 2023 3 min. read

Engineering consultancy Amey Consulting has collaborated with Finboot to produce what they believe is the first use of blockchain in UK rail. The new platform will be used to plan access times for engineers looking to maintain and renew tracks across the country. 

Speaking on the news, Tom Kinnear, a partner at Amey Consulting said, “Safe, effective, and predictable possession planning is essential in keeping our engineers safe and our rail network running. Through partnering with Finboot, we will provide the rail industry a UK first, in using blockchain to radically improve this process. Opening the rail industry to new technologies from other industries is essential if we are to innovate, and build a forward thinking, digital-first railway we can all be proud of.”

Amey Consulting is a civil engineering company, which combines consulting, design, advisory, analytics, and transport infrastructure knowledge to design, manage, and maintain clients’ assets throughout their lifetime. The firm has a long history of using these skills for clients in the UK rail sector. In 2020, for example, this saw it named as part of a new partnership with Network Rail, to help it deploy remote condition monitoring and AI for its track maintenance efforts.

Amey Consulting and Finboot leverage blockchain for rail maintenance

This heritage also saw Amey Consulting announce a new partnership with software-as-a-service firm Finboot in 2022, winning funding to develop a solution to remove costs associated with conflict in the rail industry. The solution the firms have since developed will now be used to improve rail possession planning; reducing costs, improving planning and operational efficiencies, while also boosting safety.

Blockchain – the much-hyped digital ledger technology, which records transactions, will be used to agree access times for engineers to safely access rail tracks for maintenance, renewals and enhancements. The technology will be pioneered by Amey Consulting and Finboot alongside Transport for Wales on its transformation of the Core Valley Line rail network – in what the firms believes is a first in the UK.

Juan Miguel Perez, CEO and co-founder of Finboot, added, “At Finboot we've been thinking about how blockchain can provide a digital solution for the complex requirements of railway maintenance. To have this opportunity to explore and develop this with Amey, a leader in the railway industry, is great. Blockchain is a key piece of industrial tech that will bring added transparency and real-time visibility to such an important process within the rail sector.”

The news follows a Railway Industry Association (RIA) report launched in March 2023, outlining the challenges and opportunities facing the rail industry on data and digital technologies. Among its recommendations, the report suggested the industry should ‘to open itself up to different ideas from new and experienced innovators in its own and other industries’.

The UK rail system is going through a number of major overhauls in coming years. Rail firms recently announced plans for the mass closure of England’s ticket offices to “modernise” the railway, something which critics say will make networks less safe and accessible for passengers – but which the government is also pushing for, in order to save costs.