A total of £7.9M is available to develop cutting-edge ways to improve the rail network for passengers
Entries will open for the Accelerating Innovation in Rail scheme, run by the Department for Transport (DfT) in partnership with Innovate UK, this month.
The competition is open to companies of all sizes across the UK, but entries must be collaborative and involve at least two different organisations and at least one SME.
Projects including lightweight energy-saving carriages, software telling passengers how busy arriving trains are and personalised ticket machines have already been allocated funding by the scheme.
Rail Minister Paul Maynard said: “We want to see ideas that improve reliability on the network for passengers.
“We have a wealth of pioneering, innovative companies out there ready to put their ideas into practice.
“This is about nurturing innovation on the railways and about developing trains that are less reliant on complex and expensive infrastructure.
“We want to tap into these inventive and ground-breaking ideas for the benefit of rail passengers across the country, and to support the biggest modernisation programme in rail since the Victorian era.”
The last funding round was in March and attracted a “diverse range of entries” including designing automated vehicles to carry out track inspections, improving trackside drainage, and software to predict when train breakdowns might happen.
Following testing and demonstration successful projects will have the potential to be rolled out across the network.
Entries for the current funding round will open on 18 September and close on 15 November.