Welcome to the University of Huddersfield Institute of Railway Research (IRR)

The IRR 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.

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.”

Professor Paul Allen                                                                                                                                                                                                                          IRR Director


Virtual Reality Tour - Have a look at the IRR labs here





Our Research


Research capabilities

The IRR is setup with three core teams handling a broad range of projects from long term fundamental research to short term industry problem-solving studies and applied industrial R&D.



Discover the various outputs of the Institute here

Find out more about the IRR


Our Team

Our research staff are creative and innovative practitioners who have wide industrial and research experience.


Facilities and equipment

The Institute of Railway Research (IRR) has invested heavily in its facilities and equipment and has just opened a new £4.5M laboratory.


PhD Opportunities

View the PhD opportunities available with the IRR.


"This report demonstrates the huge potential for rail innovation within the region and emphasises the benefits of Universities and Industry working together in partnership. Unipart Rail, as a founder member of UKRRIN and host of the new Technology and Innovation Hub at Doncaster, is well placed to build on this potential to deliver benefits both within the region and to the whole industry." Prof Steve Ingleton.


Services to industry

The Institute of Railway Research provides a range of industrial R&D and consultancy services to the railway industry in the UK and worldwide


Staff Recruitment

Find out about current career opportunities at the IRR.


Centre for Innovation in Rail

Advancing technology and business process in the railway supply chain


UKRRIN Centre of Excellence in Rolling Rock

UKRRIN (the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network) is a new initiative designed to create a powerful collaboration between academia and industry.


Smart Rolling Stock Maintenance Research Facility

  • Robotics & Automation
  • Optimised scheduling
  • RCM & Prognostics
  • Digitally enabled workforce


Download our Manchester wheel-rail contact benchmark files here


The IRR is an internationally recognised centre of excellence in railway research. Read our impact statement to learn more about what we do.