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Friday, June 14, 2024

University of Huddersfield Hosts MP Jason McCartney and Rail Industry Representatives to Explore Innovations in Rail Engineering

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The Institute of Railway Research (IRR), a leading centre for railway engineering research linked to the University of Huddersfield, recently welcomed MP Jason McCartney to their facility. The IRR also invited Rail Industry representatives from the Railway Industry Association North group, to discuss the present condition of the rail industry and how best to harness its future potential. The visit was organized as part of the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme.

During the visit, the group engaged in discussions on major rail infrastructure projects. MP Jason McCartney reiterated his support for HS2 and highlighted the valuable lesson learned from the successful completion of Crossrail. The absence of complaints after the completion demonstrates how quickly the public can arrive at a positive consensus once they see the benefits. The group also discussed the significance of skills in the industry and the importance of attracting young talent and parental support in fostering careers in the rail sector.

Following the meeting, the delegates were treated to an exclusive tour of the facility, where they were introduced to the facility’s robots capable of performing a wide range of tasks that are currently carried out by humans in depots across the country. These robots showcased the potential for increased efficiency and productivity in the rail industry.

The tour also featured the £3.5 million High-Speed Pantograph Testing Rig, unique equipment used for research and assessment of new pantograph designs and the development of improvements. Another highlight was the £1.2 million Train Hi-Fidelity On-board Motion Simulator (THOMoS), a replica train carriage that accurately replicates on-board motions and sensations. This advanced simulator enables research into enhancing passenger comfort and evaluating the impact of vehicle designs.

The delegates were also introduced to the HAROLD (Huddersfield Adhesion, Rolling Contact, and Brake Rig), a unique full-scale testing rig, functioning as a form of ‘rolling road’ for rail. The rig is instrumental in conducting research on adhesion, traction and braking, materials assessment, and the evaluation of wheel and rail profile designs.

Jason McCartney MP said, “It’s always great to catch up with the IRR to see the innovative technologies developed here. The commitment to research and development in the rail industry is commendable and promises a bright future for our nation’s railway infrastructure.”

Justin Moss, RIA North Chair, commented, “We are delighted to collaborate with the Institute of Railway Research in facilitating discussions between industry representatives and supportive MPs like Jason McCartney. This exchange of ideas is crucial in shaping a sustainable and technologically advanced rail sector.”

Paul Allen, Director of the Institute of Railway Research (IRR), said, “We are honoured to have hosted Jason McCartney MP and the delegates from RIA North. The visit not only allowed us to demonstrate our research but also fostered constructive discussions on the future of the rail industry. We remain committed to driving innovation and research within the sector to shape a sustainable and technologically advanced railway system for the benefit of all.”

Photo credit: RIA

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