University of Huddersfield

Huddersfield, United Kingdom

The University of Huddersfield is based in the north of the UK with over 2000 staff, 22,000 students studying more than 400 degrees. It has a turnover of £150M and benefit £300M to the local economy. 

The University hosts the Institute of Railway Research (IRR) which is a world-class centre for railway engineering research, development and technology innovation. Our work has helped the industry to reduce operating and maintenance costs, whilst improving reliability and safety. 

The IRR hosts the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network’s Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock, and with over £14m of investment in state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, we work alongside our industrial and academic partners to deliver high-impact research across a range of engineering disciplines. 

The IRR’s research is particularly relevant to the agendas of safety, sustainability and carbon reduction. For example, new materials, manufacturing technologies and systems of maintenance and condition monitoring can increase cost-effectiveness for rail operators, and the transition to electrification can be accelerated by research that will make overhead power distribution much more efficient and reliable. The IRR as a long history of EU research collaboration developing innovative solution for both sides of the rolling stock and railway infrastructure by participating in FP6-7 and H2020 projects such as Dynotrain, Innotrack, Sustrail, Spectrum, Dynafreight, Locate, Run2Rail, Smarte, Capacity4Rail, Wrist, NextGear, In2Rail, In2track, in2Track2 and In2track3. 

Our vehicle-track dynamics research has furthered understanding of this critical system interface including aspects such as passenger comfort, curving behaviour, wheel-rail contact, traction and braking, improving safety and helping to protect some of the railway’s most expensive assets. 

Pantograph and overhead line interaction dynamics are helping to optimise the current collection system, reducing component wear and failures, thereby aiding decarbonisation through more reliable and cost-effective electrification. 

Applying the latest techniques in robotic automation, data science and remote condition monitoring, our smart rolling stock maintenance research facility is supporting the rail industry in developing the future of rolling stock maintenance, enabling more reliable and efficient maintenance of railway assets. 

In 2019 we were very proud that the IRR was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize “for research and development that has brought significant improvements to the railway industry.”