A project developing so-called self-charging trains is among the winners of a Government funding competition to transform the future of transport.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said Cambridgeshire-based company Echion Technologies is creating train batteries that can charge from overhead wires.
Under the scheme, the train would then use the power to continue its journey on unelectrified sections of track.
Bi-mode trains which can be powered by overhead wires and diesel are often currently used on Britain’s railways.
Other projects awarded a share of more than £5 million from the DfT’s First of a Kind 2002 competition include a programme by Thales Ground Transportation to develop sensors which detect when a person is approaching the tracks.
It is hoped this will reduce disruption and could prevent suicides.
Transport Secretary Mark 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.”
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