UK Rail Minister Unveils £30m Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock

The University of Huddersfield’s Institute of Railway Research (IRR) has become a Centre of Excellence for the new £90m UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN), launched at a special event in Westminster.

The ultimate aim, pledges Rail Minister Jo Johnson, is to deliver the biggest modernisation programme since Victorian times, meaning more frequent trains and quicker and more comfortable journeys.

Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock
Institute of Railway Research Test Rig © University of Huddersfield

Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock

Within UKRRIN, the Institute of Railway Research’s task will be to develop a new generation of rolling stock that lasts longer, is more energy efficient and is less costly to maintain.

As leader of UKRRIN’S Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock, the IRR will be the conduit for almost £30 million of research funding. The Institute’s Director, Professor Simon Iwnicki, said:

“It’s the largest contract that we have had so far and will lead to a real step change in our capabilities”

He was at the House of Commons for the official launch of UKRRIN, an event that saw representatives from the industry partners and universities meet MPs and officials from several Government departments in order to brief them on plans for developing the new research network and on projects that are under way.

UK Rail Research and Innovation Network

UKRRIN has been established after a successful £28m bid to the Higher Education Funding Council for England to create four rail Centres of Excellence, backed by commitment from the rail industry to invest more than £60m in research, development and innovation activities at these Centres over the next ten years.

In addition to the Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock, led by the University of Huddersfield – in partnership with Newcastle University and Loughborough University – there are also Centres of Excellence in Digital Systems, led by the University of Birmingham, and in Infrastructure, led by the University of Southampton.  There is also a Centre of Excellence in Testing, to be led by Network Rail.

UKRRIN aims to build the capacity of the rail sector to develop, deliver and deploy new technologies, helping the UK maintain its position as a global leader.

Commenting on the launch of UKRRIN, Rail Minister Jo Johnson said:

“We are investing in the biggest modernisation programme of our railways since Victorian times.  In doing so, we are utilising a range of new technologies across the network and Britain is now at the cutting edge of digital signalling, high speed transport and railway infrastructure.

“New centres of excellence, bringing together experts, universities and the wider rail industry will be essential in achieving our ambition to get all diesel-only trains off the track by 2040 as well as delivering the advanced railway network that passengers deserve.

Original press release © The University of Huddersfield.

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