2021 – A year in review

2021 - A Year in Review

In a nutshell

This year has been a testament to what this amazing Incremental team is capable of. Throughout 2021 we saw existing relationships continue to grow, while developing new partnerships that through collaboration, have taken our products from strength to strength and improve the railway for everyone.

Crucial collaboration

2021 was a fantastic year for the us in terms of creating new partnerships, both in the UK and abroad.
At the end of October, our collaboration with fibre-optic sensing pioneer, Sensonic, saw us secure yet more funding from Innovate UK to bring our FORSE (Fibre Optic Railway Sensing Equipment) solution to fruition in the UK. We’re now venturing into global markets with other Fibre Optic projects in a number of countries, which is very exciting.

We also saw our OLErt (Overhead Line Equipment in Real Time) solution continue to be used by GWR 2021 saw GTR also come on board to use the product. Providing the TOCs and Network Rail with information and location data of emerging issues and faults to the overhead line equipment means they can be investigated as quickly as possible and prevent any future issues before they occur.Our real-time identification, movement and tracking expertise will be integrated with Sensonic’s fibre-optic acoustic sensing to create a new way to continually monitor the railway and detect track faults. The 12-month trial will showcase the solution’s ability to reduce the number of hours spent walking the track to detect, locate and rectify faults. Fusing our train tracking and location data with fibre-optic noise sensing enables FORSE to monitor the condition of fixed points and track individual trains dynamically and accurately as they move around the network, acting as virtual track inspectors.


Overhead Line Equipment in Real Time / OLErtThroughout 2021, OLErt continued to provide information so that dynamic inspections can be carried out, as OLE assets can be monitored and inspected remotely, compared to a ‘boots on ballast’ foot patrol. Not only is this a safer approach, it’s more efficient as more of the OLE can be monitored on board a moving train than on foot. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic this has become extremely important to the safe running of the railway and will continue way beyond those ‘temporary’ restrictions.

Only a couple of months later, we successfully partnered with Thales to develop our ‘Automated Rail Geospatial Observation System’ARGOS.

Using Thales’ Robust Train Positioning System and our user interface and threshold definition system, the solution is being trialled on an in-service GWR unit and the data transmitted to Thales will alert operators to track geometry irregularities such as twist or cyclic top faults. Successful deployment of the solution will reduce delays and risk of derailments by detecting and pinpointing the location of faults before they become serious risks to the network.

We worked with NOMAD digital to develop our first solution for the freight industry, TRACO (TRAnsition COnnectivity for trains and trucks). Thanks to funding from the First of a Kind competition run by the SBRI, TRACO will use its sophisticated GPS system to track goods across rail, road, and ports to provide the supply chain with the most accurate and credible intermodal data available.

These collaborations are just some of the key partnerships and relationships we have formed and nurtured over the last 12 months and we’re incredibly proud to be working alongside some of the biggest names in the industry on these fantastic solutions.

Funding success

Opportunities to receive funding from bodies such as Innovate UK are fantastic endorsements for a business like Incremental. We have the ideas, the knowhow and the skills to develop solutions, and with the support of agencies such as this, we have the opportunity to bring them to fruition.

This year we’ve won funding in several competitions, both in the UK and abroad. This is an unprecedented result for us and an amazing example of how our solutions are recognised for the improvements they bring to the rail industry.

Innovation is high on the agenda for UK rail and throughout the last 12 months, we’ve further demonstrated what our data driven solutions can do to improve rail travel, for Network Rail, TOCs, and the end customer.

Incremental abroad

It’s been a really exciting year for Incremental in terms of our introduction into several overseas markets. We’ve begun trials in both South America and Europe with Sensonic and we’re in talks to bring our solutions to the Canadian rail industry in 2022. For the last few years, we’ve proven our technology and its benefits in the UK and it’ll be wonderful to see these start to be adopted across the globe over the coming months and years.


Thanks to the easing of lockdown restrictions, it was great to get back out to events later in the 2021 and meet clients and new contacts at face-to-face events, both at home and abroad.
Also early September, we loved being part of the Railtex/Infrarail event at Birmingham’s NEC. It was brilliant to see so many familiar faces back to doing what we do best, in the same place, at the same time.In early September, we travelled to Berlin with Sensonic to showcase our product and introduce it to the European market. We had a fantastic time meeting new faces and making the most of being able to have in person conversations and interactions. COVID-19 has played such a huge part in the development of technological innovations, but has also made it challenging to build relationships in some ways, so attending Berlin’s 7th Railway Forum was a great way to ‘get back out there’.

We also really enjoyed the Rail Midlands Forum Annual Conference, where we presented to the attendees. We also took part in the RIA Northern Leaders event in Leeds where Kate delivered a fantastic presentation to the audience there.

It was a real thrill to feel like things were getting back to normal for events such as these, which are vital to so many industries and particularly to SMEs.

Award recognition

We’ve had a great year in terms of recognition from both industry and regional awards and were shortlisted in a number of events. From the Rail Industry Association’s RISE awards, to the York Press Business Awards, we were really proud to be shortlisted in some really competitive categories and look forward to seeing what more we can do in 2022 to make even more of an impression through award wins!

A look ahead to 2022

We’re really excited about the success we know this year will bring, following on from a fantastic 2021. We have hit the ground running with several projects and will share news and updates on our progress when we can. We hope we continue to see an improvement in the ways of living and working with the pandemic and that the last 18 or so months leaves a legacy for the technology industry and what it can achieve.

We’ve given our office in York city centre a face-lift and we’re growing our fabulous team with new and exciting roles. We’re constantly striving to improve our existing products and develop new solutions that will make the railway better for everyone.