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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Andrew Stephenson opens IRR’s new UKRRIN research facilities

Andrew Stephenson MP has been given a tour of the new UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock at the Institute of Railway Research (IRR).

He was welcomed to the IRR at University of Huddersfield by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bob Cryan, and experienced a live onboard demonstration of THOMoS, the Institute’s new Train Hi-fidelity On-board Motion Simulator.

During his visit Mr Stephenson officially launched the IRR’s new test facilities within the Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock, which forms part of the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) and was provided with the opportunity to experience a live onboard demonstration of THOMoS, the IRR’s new ‘Train Hi-fidelity On-board Motion Simulator’.

Andrew Stephenson MP commented on how the work carried out by the IRR was helping to improve the passenger experience, reduce rail emissions, and support a modernised workforce.  He also regarded the Institute of Railway Research to be ‘at the heart of rail innovation’.

Professor Simon Iwnicki, Director of the IRR, outlined how the new UKRRIN facilities would support the research being conducted at the Institute. He pointed out how the new test rigs would allow further innovations to be developed and implemented which would improve the performance of railway vehicles and result in reduced cost and carbon emissions.

The IRR’s Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock (CERS) was officially launched at the University in 2019 and shared a total of £90 million in funding, distributed among three Centres of Excellence.

The University’s Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock (CERS) links with three other Centres of Excellence within the UKRRIN Network to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for all rolling stock development.

The funds invested in creating the Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock at the University has led to the construction of two major new research facilities at the Institute.

The ‘PANTHER’ £3.5 million ‘High Speed Pantograph Testing Rig’ is a unique full-scale pantograph dynamic test rig with hardware-in-the-loop (HiL) facility for determination of dynamic interaction forces. Typical applications will be the development and assessment of new pantograph designs, the optimisation of pantograph suspension systems and the development of novel mechatronic solutions.

A £1.2 million ‘Train Hi-fidelity On-board Motion Simulator’ known as ‘THOMoS’ is a motion platform-based laboratory simulator capable of reproducing the motions and sensations rail passengers experience when on-board a train.  The simulator will be used to carry out research into passenger comfort and the effect of various novel vehicle designs.

Rail Engineer will report further on these facilities in its next edition (Issue 195, March/April).

Image credit: University of Huddersfield

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