IRR aims to establish UK as world leader

Posted on 03 Aug 2017 and read 842 times
IRR aims to establish UK as world leaderThe Institute of Railway Research (IRR) at the University of Huddersfield is to play a key role in a £92 million ‘network’ aimed at establishing the UK as a world leader in rail technology.

Experts at the IRR, working with other universities and major manufacturers, will develop rolling stock that lasts longer, is more energy-efficient and is less costly to maintain.

The IRR will receive research funding of almost £30 million. IRR director Simon Iwnicki said: “This is the largest contract that we have had so far, and it will lead to a real step change in our capabilities.”

The Institute already has ‘state of the art’ facilities, including a £4.5 million test rig that is ‘unique’ in Europe; now it will expand further, enabling larger and more-diverse railway-vehicle system components to be delivered to the IRR for research and testing.

The funding comes via the newly announced UK Railway Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN), in which the University of Huddersfield is a partner.

Following a bid led by the University of Birmingham, UKRRIN has been awarded £28.1 million from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund; this is boosted by £64 million of support from 17 industrial partners including Alstom, Siemens and Bombardier Transportation.

Now that the funding for UKRRIN has been announced, the IRR at Huddersfield will begin to acquire the new equipment it will need for a big expansion in its activities. This will be installed by early 2019, with the new Rolling Stock Innovation Centre opening later that year.

Professor Iwnicki points out that UK rail passenger numbers have doubled over the past decade, resulting in increased pressure on all parts of the railway system.

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