Home People Ricardo Rail the victors at IMechE's Railway Challenge

Ricardo Rail the victors at IMechE’s Railway Challenge

Newcomers Ricardo Rail took first place at the IMechE’s 2018 Railway Challenge despite winning only two of the individual challenges.

The winners beat competitors from the UK’s top universities – as well as an entry from FH Aachen and Reuschling University in Germany – Bombardier Transportation, Siemens and Transport for London.

Last year’s winners SNC-Lavalin Rail and Transit were driven into second place despite their five individual awards.

The annual competition was once more held at the Stapleford Miniature Railway, Leicestershire, by the IMechE from 28 June – 1 July 2018.

Teams of graduate students and apprentice engineers were required to hand-build, design and run a miniature 10 1/4” gauge railway locomotive.

These locomotives were then tested in a series of track-based and presentation challenges, including: a design report and business presentation, as well as track-based challenges on the locomotive’s traction, ride comfort, noise, maintainability and ability to store energy.

The judges said they were impressed by the wide range of solutions for traction and braking systems and suspension designs. The locomotives also featured fuel cells, internal combustion, batteries, super-capacitors, and mechanical energy storage.


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The winning team from Ricardo Rail. Photo: David Shirres.

Head judge Bill Reeve, who is also the rail director at Transport Scotland and a fellow of the IMechE, said: “This year’s Railway Challenge was the toughest competition yet.

“For Ricardo to win in the first year it has competed is an outstanding achievement.

“Good team work and project management, with sound system engineering and testing delivered impressive and reliable performance.”

Ricardo Rail graduate engineer and project manager Benjamin Morley added: “We had a team that worked really well together and benefited from cross-industry expertise by having railway and automotive team members.

“The general design wasn’t over complicated, though we did concentrate our efforts on the energy recovery.”

Overall results:

  1. Grand Champion – Ricardo Rail
  2.  SNC-Lavalin Rail and Transit
  3.  University of Birmingham
  4.  FH Aachen and Reuschling University, Germany
  5.  Transport for London
  6.  University of Sheffield
  7.  University of Warwick
  8.  University of Huddersfield
  9.  Bombardier Transportation and University of Derby
  10.  Siemens and University of Southampton.

Photo: David Shirres.

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