The IRR has built up over many years a strong reputation for excellent research and professional support to the railway industry. The Institute areas of research are all closely connected to its core specialist expertise of the vehicle-track interaction and the wheel-rail interface. The Institute’s research themes are summarised as follow:

Wheel-rail Interaction:  Wheel-rail contact modelling and testing. Material wear and rolling contact fatigue prediction. Maximising asset life through interface optimisation, supporting heavy rail, light rail and metro systems.

Typical outputs for this theme have been:

  • Development and validation of WLRM and VTSIM models (used by NR for asset management)
  • Development and testing of a new low RCF profile for the UK (WRISA2)
  • Development of a new wheel profile for Manchester Metrolink
  • Strategic wheelset management system

Railway Vehicle Dynamics: Vehicle dynamic modelling. Freight vehicle acceptance predictions, Running gears design, virtual testing and optimisation. Traction and braking performance and control. Mechatronic trains. Hardware-in-the-loop testing. Derailment analysis and performance optimisation for heavy rail, light rail and metro vehicles.

Typical outputs for this theme have been:

  • Facilitation of acceptance for new fleet of freight bogies
  • Innovative running gear design for freight vehicles
  • Suspension components characterisation and optimisation

Track System Dynamics: Numerical modelling of various trackforms and interaction with vehicle. Predictions of force distribution, track and fixing response and structural resistance. Frequency response analysis. Trackform design and failure mode investigations. Switches and crossings optimisation.

Typical outputs for this theme have been:

  • Helped review and assess track systems for the CrossRail project and other light railway projects
  • Contributed to investigation on fixing mechanism failure
  • Development and assessment of a prototype new steel based track construction by Tata Steel

Instrumentation and Condition Monitoring: Vehicle and track mounted measurement systems, condition monitoring and asset life optimisation.

Typical outputs for this theme have been:

  • Continuous monitoring of light railway vehicles and track condition to help reduce detrimental dynamics effects.

The IRR has put in place plans to expand its themes of research through existing and new collaboration along the following themes:

  • Noise and Vibration
  • Intelligent Condition Monitoring and Mechatronics
  • Materials Technology
  • Asset Management
  • Energy and Transport Logistics