The IRR carries out world leading research in the areas of:

  • Vehicle and track dynamics
  • Traction, braking and energy systems
  • Pantographs and overhead systems
  • Advanced safety management systems
  • Condition monitoring and analytics
  • Technology development and innovation

Below are some examples of capabilities and key project in each area:

Vehicle and track dynamics

  • Vehicle & Track Dynamics
  • Wheel-Rail Interaction
  • Train-structure interaction in transition zones
    and in switches & crossings
  • Track component design and failure mode analysis
  • Noise and vibration
  • Bridges and tunnels analysis

Key projects:

  • Crossrail intelligent maintenance tool
  • HS2 track system & WRI performance  
  • Tram-train wheel profile development
  • NR60 crossing redesign
  • LU track system modelling, keys and screws

Traction, braking and energy systems

  • Traction and braking system research
  • Wheel-rail adhesion research
  • Hybrid drivetrain and alternative energy evaluation
  • Energy recovery system development
  • Decarbonisation strategy development

Key projects:

  • LABRADOR: low adhesion train braking model development (RSSB)
  • LILAC: investigation of the effect of wheel-rail
  • third-body layers on adhesion (RSSB)
  • Decarbonisation options for rail (RSSB)
  • Digital displacement pumps for high efficiency drives (RSSB)

Pantographs and overhead systems

  • Contact quality assessment & improvement
  • Virtual homologation of pantograph-OLE systems
  • Multiple pantographs in straight & curved tracks
  • Design of rigid & flexible OLE systems
  • Dynamic gauging & clearances
  • Modelling of catenary singularities
  • Pantograph design & performance

Key projects:

  • EU: S2R-PantOCL (2018-2019)
  • TOPCAT (2017-2018)
  • KLK / SNCF Rigid Catenary (2018)
  • World Benchmarks (2014-2015)
  • EU: PantoTRAIN (2009-2012)
  • EU: EUROPAC (2005-2007)

Advanced safety management systems

  • Active bow-ties for safety system modelling
  • Enterprise architecture to support safety decision making

Key projects:

  • Close calls – analysis for railway free text records
  • Train driver competence performance indicators
  • TaVizOn

Condition monitoring and analytics

  • Big Data Risk Analysis (BDRA)
  • Big Data Operational Analysis (BDOA)
  • Big Data Engineering Analysis (BDEA)

Key projects:

  • Red Aspect Approach to Signals (RAATS)
  • Diesel Engine Efficiency (Data analytics)
  • RAMP track geometry prediction tool

Technology development and innovation

  • Design Support and R&D
  • Route to Market
  • Funding Advice
  • SME Collaboration
  • Simulation, Analysis and Advanced Testing
  • Innovation and Business Case Support

Key projects:

  • Intelligent gauge corner lubrication detection
  • Train-based void detection
  • Trespass matting product development