The Institute of Railway Research (IRR) within the School of Computing and Engineering at The University of Huddersfield is a world-leading centre in the field of railway engineering and safety.

Our research has helped to improve knowledge of the way in which railway vehicles interact with the track including key performance aspects such as suspension performance, wheel-rail contact, traction and braking. In collaboration with industry and academic partners, this work has led to a number of new tools and techniques which are now used to predict deterioration of railway wheels and rails, to optimise the vehicle track interface, to increase safety and reliability levels, reduce cost and improve performance of the railway system.

A large proportion of the IRR’s research is of special relevance 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.

An example of the close collaboration of the institute with industry has been its long term strategic partnership with RSSB. This allowed the Institute to expand its team by 10 full-time staff and develop a new field of research in the application of big data to understanding and predicting rail safety and operational risk.

In 2014 a grant of £4M from the Regional Growth Fund allowed us to set up the ‘Centre for Innovation in Rail’ (CIR), which has supported the development of innovative new products and growing employment in SMEs in the industry supply chain.

The IRR was a founder member of the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) which is a partnership between the railway industry and the leading academic institutions carrying out railway research. The IRR hosts the UKRRIN Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock.

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.”

Simon Iwnicki
Director of the IRR

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

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

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Mission statement

The Institute of Railway Research (IRR) aims to become a world leading centre of railway engineering research

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Download our Manchester wheel-rail contact benchmark files here

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Contact Us

If you would like to know more about our areas of expertise or wish to discuss research opportunities with the Institute of Railway Research then please contact us on the details below:

General enquiries

Institute of Railway Research
University of Huddersfield

Tel: +44 (0)1484 472030

Email: irr.info@hud.ac.uk

Director of the IRR

Prof Simon Iwnicki

Director of IRR

s.iwnicki@hud.ac.uk | 01484 473731

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Enquiries on research activities

Prof Paul Allen

Assistant Director - Principal Enterprise Fellow

p.d.allen@hud.ac.uk | 01484 473047

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Prof Yann Bezin

Head of Research - Principal Enterprise Fellow

y.bezin@hud.ac.uk | 01484 473732

View Yann's profile

Enquiries on enterprise activities

Prof Adam Bevan

Head of Enterprise - Principal Enterprise Fellow

a.j.bevan@hud.ac.uk | 01484 473077

View Adam's profile

Mr Julian Stow

Assistant Director - Principal Enterprise Fellow

j.m.stow@hud.ac.uk | 01484 473021

View Julian's profile

Where to find us

For directions to the University campus see Campus maps and Directions

On Campus 

The Institute of Railway Research is located in corridor T5 of the Technology Building which is in the centre of the below map. 

Location map for the IRR