At the moment, large sections of the UK rail network are undergoing major development, all the while using the latest engineering techniques and technology to help deliver a system that runs efficiently and safely in the face of growing passenger demand. One of the groups helping UK rail do this is the Institute of Railway Research (IRR), a department of the University of Huddersfield that comprises around 35 members of staff, the majority of whom work in research and mechanical engineering.
The IRR director, Simon Iwnicki, joins SmartRail World for the latest 5 Minutes With… to explain some of the ways that the dedicated team in West Yorkshire applies its expertise. In a wide-ranging interview, Simon speaks to Dave Songer about the systems that the IRR has helped create, how he feels he is contributing to UK rail and, as ever, his favourite place in the world to travel by train.
Dave Songer (DS): Please can you begin by telling me about the University of Huddersfield’s IRR department and what it does?
Simon Iwnicki (SI): Well, our main area of activity is in modelling and understanding the interaction between railway vehicles and the track, building up computer models so that we can predict what the forces are between each. This could include what happens if things aren’t perfect – such as faults in the suspension or track, or the result of improvements to different types of suspension systems and how that affects the safety of the vehicle and the comfort of the passengers.