Dr Paul Allen of IRR, Chair of the Railway Division of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Richard East, Prof Bob Cryan, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, and IRR Director Prof Simon Iwnicki celebrate the inauguration of the test rig.

UK: The University of Huddersfield has completed the installation of a full-scale bogie test rig, claimed to be the only one of its type in Europe, after securing a £4·5m grant from the UK government’s Regional Growth Fund.

The 150 tonne test rig, which was officially opened on October 12 by Richard East, Chair of the Railway Division of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, enables a wide range of experiments to be conducted on full-size bogies using a pair of 2 000 mm diameter rollers that can be fitted with any type or profile of railhead. It will enable in-depth investigation of many issues surrounding the contact patch between wheel and rail.

Prof Simon Iwnicki, Director of the university’s Institute of Railway Research, explained that IRR’s portfolio of research includes covers a broad spectrum of railway disciplines from rolling stock through to infrastructure. ‘We do a lot by computer modelling, but this needs to be supported by testing. That is why this new facility is so important to us.’

A Centre for Innovation in Rail has now been established as a distinct business unit within IRR. It is intended to help the supply chain to develop products, and act as a conduit between the university and small-to-medium sized businesses serving the rail sector.