Repoint wins IET Innovation Award

Members of the Repoint project team, including Roger Dixon, Head of Control Systems Research Group at Loughborough University (holding the prize), Doug Green, CEO at DEG Signal (second from right) and Rob Bell, TV presenter (far right).

// Radical new track switch product

Repoint is a radical new track switch product developed by Loughborough University’s Control Systems Group. The project has recently won a prestigious IET Innovation Award in recognition of its potential to improve safety, reduce maintenance and increase capacity.


// Designing Repoint Light

DEG Signal is working with Loughborough University on a version of Repoint known as Repoint Light. This maintains a traditional switch and stock rail configuration but uses innovative means to control the operation of the switches.

DEG Signal’s work has focused on the design of the location case which will be used to operate and monitor Repoint Light. This will enable the whole system to achieve Technology Readiness Level 7 (TRL7).

The DEG Signal team produced the Signalling Design Specification (SDS) and co-ordinated all the design activities for the Location case design. They will undertake all the support from the design point of view, also installation, testing & commissioning for the trial site.

Computer model of bearer containing switch actuator

Computer model of bearer containing switch actuator


// Building on DEG Signal’s international experience

One of the reasons DEG Signal were selected to work on the project is because we have extensive experience of working with different types of interlocking. This has included Mechanical Interlocking, Relay Based Interlocking and Solid State Interlocking. Our work has been completed in countries including Australia, Portugal, Poland and South Africa. This international experience will be of particular value when the production ready Repoint is implemented around the world.

Full stub switch version of Repoint in test lab environment

Full stub switch version of Repoint in test lab environment

// The need for Repoint

Repoint was developed in response to the rail industry’s independent body RSSB’s call for new ways to increase network capacity. It introduces the concept of using several actuators to operate the same turnout, meaning that in the event of a single failure the remaining actuators continue to function safely. With this additional redundancy built into each machine, rail traffic can still pass and remedial maintenance can be scheduled without causing immediate disruption to services.

Repoints innovative solution is globally significant. The UK alone has over 20,000 switch and crossing units and, despite representing only 5% of network mileage, they account for over 15% of the track maintenance budget. The Loughborough teams longer-term aim is to work with partners around the world to develop and manufacture Repoint systems appropriate to local needs and regulation.


Repoint Light schematic

Repoint Light schematic

// Project Timescales for DEG Signal’s involvement

  • Signalling Design Specification Commence December 2016

  • Signalling Design Specification Complete September 2017

  • Detailed Design Commence October 2017

  • Detailed Design Complete November 2017

  • Manufacture Location Case Commence December 2017

  • Manufacture Location Case Complete February 2017

  • TRL 5 Achieved – component demonstration January 2018

  • 1st Prototype Delivered March 2018

  • TRL 6 Achieved – Full System Demonstration September 2018

  • System installed at agreed test site November 2018

  • TRL 7 Achieved – System Demonstration in Rail December 2018

  • System signed off to FAT December 2018


// Comments on Repoint

Professor Roger Dixon, academic lead of Repoint, stated:

“The IET Innovation Award is invaluable recognition for Repoint, which has progressed swiftly through key commercial milestones with support from the Impact Acceleration Account, Higher Education Innovation Fund and RSSB. With RSSB’s continued support and with industry partners including Transport for London, we aim to deliver real, tangible benefits to the future of the rail industry.”

IET President Jeremy Watson CBE, said:

“Innovation is an essential cornerstone for the growth of the global economy and raising the standard of living in all communities. It is a key differentiator that makes companies and projects successful and, in keeping with the IET’s mission to inspire excellence in engineering and technology, we are immensely proud to recognise, celebrate and show our support for these exceptional achievements.”

Vitor Soares, Senior Design Team Leader at DEG Signal said:

Repoint is very important for DEG Signal to be involved in, as I believe it will be the future of point machines. This is because it provides huge advantages in availability, due to fault tolerant engineering principles by using three actuators within the bearers. One actuator is capable of moving the switch rails alone.”


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