£1m upgrade is on track to boost university’s rail research facilities

An upgrade is underway on the UK’s only full-size railway bogie test rig, based at the Institute of Railway Research (IRR) at the University of Huddersfield.

It will include the integration of a real-time train braking performance model, as well as the capability to test novel hybrid drivetrains and energy storage systems.

This will broaden the university’s rail research capabilities and allow the IRR to provide essential support to the railway industry in overcoming its wider decarbonisation and electrification challenges.

Thanks to £1m worth of capital funding provided through the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN), the soon to be launched ‘HAROLD 2.0’, is a full-scale bogie test rig built upon the existing HAROLD facility opened at the IRR in 2016.

In partnership with engineering consultants Ricardo, who are delivering the upgrade, the funding will provide significant enhancements to the facility’s functionality.

Professor Paul Allen, assistant director of the IRR, said: “In helping realise predictable and optimised traction and braking performance, the HAROLD 2.0 test rig will contribute to delivering a safer, more reliable and higher capacity railway.

“Through testing and development of hybrid vehicle concepts, it will support the railway industry in overcoming its wider decarbonisation and electrification challenges.”

The Institute of Railway Research conducts research into the interaction between railway vehicles and the track and has used this knowledge to support the railway industry in the UK and around the world.

At the start of 2019, the Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock was officially launched at the institute, sharing a total of £90m in funding, distributed among three Centres of Excellence.