Viper Innovations’ Response to Network Rail Strategic Business Plan

June 9, 2023

Viper Innovations has read Network Rail’s Strategic Business Plan for the forthcoming control period and welcome the commitment to deliver the best possible outcome for the safety, performance, efficiency and sustainability it can provide in the prevailing business environment.

Considering the big picture, as innovators and export champions for the UK, we welcome the drive toward levelling up and recognising Network Rail’s contribution as a catalyst to the country’s long-term economic growth. We have collaborated strongly over Control Period 6 with our customers in Network Rail to develop a unique and compelling technology and service that is now ready for export. Therefore, we look forward to building the company, creating employment opportunities and putting UK technology on the map across the world’s railway networks.

Moreover, looking more inwardly, the top billing is safety – an implicit requirement for the travelling public and an explicit one for all those working on and around the railway. The continued move towards modernised working practices and the welcome push to remove boots off ballast is essential to find new, attractive and innovative ways of working. Our team will continue to work with Network Rail to challenge and change standards to enable the shift from trackside to remote monitoring for the most critical asset – Signalling Power Supplies. This work has paid dividends in CP6 regarding removing boots from ballast. It will go even further in the next control period as we continue to identify new ways to use our technology and provide the service required to drive up safety standards.

The absolute foundation of the operational railway is punctuality, and we’ve noted the need to balance the performance of the asset with revenue generation, available budget, and the financial headwinds currently prevailing in the UK and the wider continent. There will inevitably need to be some cutting of the cloth concerning priorities, so it will be vital that Network Rail partner with the right technology providers to deliver the performance required by the passenger and freight operators without risking waste by choosing a system that does not perform. We have honed our malleable technology and service over the course of CP6 in partnership with Network Rail engineers to guarantee results. Most importantly, we can boast an enviable reputation of performance improvement from implementing CableGuardian. Therefore, we look forward to working with the routes and regions to deliver cost-effective punctuality for clients in CP7 and beyond.

In addition, financial efficiency will be core to the industry in CP7, whether in the project space or maintenance and operations. With the ORR asking for a 15% reduction in capital and a 10% reduction in operational expenditure, the industry will be challenged to spend every pound wisely. The client will have to conduct an in-depth review of what constitutes a minimum viable product in project specifications and will need to dig deep into processes to find the efficiencies required in maintenance and lifecycle asset management. CableGuardian supports this by providing a viable and straightforward alternative to achieving RAMS requirements on critical lines without installing expensive auto-reconfiguration systems. We have also created templated designs, worked with OEMs to integrate them into off-the-shelf power system designs to avoid design and hardware costs and created simple commissioning processes to reduce overall project costs.

We look forward to further pushing this in the next control period.

In the maintenance domain, we have worked with engineers to develop the evidence and closed-loop control processes that have enabled CableGuardian to be used in place of manual periodic inspection and testing procedures on signalling power supplies, saving millions over the control period in the process. We have worked with Network Rail to rewrite standards, develop safety analysis and create maintenance processes that allow engineers to improve working practices in the practical application. Furthermore, we have also identified and continued to progressively build in functionality as we learn to enable the identification of new failure modes to simplify even further and to move even more work into the office and off the track.

In lifetime asset management, CableGuardian shows its worth across this control period and the ones yet to come. The ORR has demanded that ‘assets must be planned and managed to deliver their greatest value over the course of their operational lives’. Furthermore, Network Rail is forecasting an increase in the requirement for lifecycle asset management into CP8 and beyond due to decisions having to be made on priorities in CP7. What if those decisions provide an accurate position on asset condition and life remaining? What if we could accurately predict the age of an asset and allow spot replacements of the failing components to ensure the maximum value from the asset in service? This would inevitably lead to a decrease in net asset management costs over this and the subsequent control periods and provide absolute clarity over what asset requires attention, when and how much this will be. CableGuardian can do this, and we are currently working with Network Rail engineers to make this a reality for CP7 and beyond.

Therefore, Viper Innovations and CableGuardian have all you need to meet the need for modernisation, technology integration and process improvement to deliver outstanding safety, performance, efficiency and lifecycle asset management for signalling power supplies.

So, hit the ground running in CP7 by contacting us now to plan how we can be your new technology partner to move you to the next level of asset management.

To contact Viper Innovations, email our expert team at or get in touch via our contact form.