Mark Harper told how top innovators won prize money to bring their ideas of decarbonising the rail network to life. This includes removing harmful emissions from train exhausts and powering railways with renewable energy.
Mr Harper said: “The UK has a long history of leading the way in railway innovation and the First of a Kind competition is getting the great brains of today to create the trains of tomorrow.
“Through millions of pounds worth of Government funding, we are breathing life into ideas that will revolutionise our railways and make them greener than ever before.
“This is just the beginning and, as Transport Secretary, I am determined to support British innovation and create a cutting edge, green rail industry that delivers even more benefits for passengers and freight.”
The competition, called First of a Kind, saw 24 people receive a share of more than £5 million with grants of up to £400,000 each.
Successful bidder Echion Technologies is developing batteries that will charge from overhead wires and use that charge to “leapfrog” across unelectrified sections of track, essentially creating self-charging trains.
Mike Biddle, Executive Director for Net Zero at Innovate UK, said: “The innovations funded through this competition will help to deliver a greener, lower-emissions railway carrying increasingly higher proportions of the UK’s freight.