Portrait of Mr Julian Stow Mr Julian Stow

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j.m.stow@hud.ac.uk | 01484 473021


After gaining a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Manchester Metropolitan University, my early career was spent in the automotive industry, initially in testing and homologation of specialist vehicles and then as a design engineer developing steering and suspension for commercial vehicles. During this period I worked for an engineering consultancy and gained experience working with major clients such as Volvo and on secondment at Leyland DAF Trucks.

In 1998 I moved to Manchester Metropolitan University to become the first member of staff at the newly formed Rail Technology Unit. I have subsequently built up a wide range of skills and experience in the field of railway vehicle rigid multi-body dynamics and wheel-rail interface engineering. I have led a range of industrial R&D projects in these specialised areas for the rail industry on-behalf of clients in the UK and worldwide.

Through involvement in a number of research projects I have developed specialist knowledge of rail rolling contact fatigue (RCF) and have led several projects for the Rail Safety and Standards Board researching the fundamental causes of RCF and the application of a range of control measures to be adopted by the industry.

I joined the University of Huddersfield in July 2012 where I am Assistant Director of the Institute of Railway Research.

Research and Scholarship

My research interests include:

  • Wheel and rail wear, defects and rolling contact fatigue
  • Railway asset management
  • Improving rail vehicle dynamic performance, including active suspensions
  • Wheel-rail interface condition monitoring and inspection
  • Use of big data to improve railway operations and safety (SPADs and driver competence)

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Andrade, A. and Stow, J. (2017) ‘Assessing the potential cost savings of introducing the maintenance option of ‘Economic Tyre Turning’ in Great Britain railway wheelsetsReliability Engineering & System Safety , 168, pp. 317-325. ISSN 0951-8320

Andrade, A. and Stow, J. (2017) ‘Assessing the efficiency of maintenance operators: a case study of turning railway wheelsets on an under-floor wheel latheProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part O: Journal of Risk and Reliability , 231 (2), pp. 155-163. ISSN 1748-006X

Andrade, A. and Stow, J. (2016) ‘Statistical Modelling of Wear and Damage Trajectories of Railway WheelsetsQuality and Reliability Engineering International , 32 (8), pp. 2909-2923. ISSN 0748-8017

Zhao, Y., Stow, J. and Harrison, C. (2016) ‘Improving the understanding of SPAD risks using red aspect approach dataSafety and Reliability . ISSN 0961-7353

Zhao, Y., Stow, J. and Harrison, C. (2016) ‘Estimating the frequency of trains approaching red signals: A case study for improving the understanding of SPAD riskIET Intelligent Transport Systems , 10 (9), pp. 579-586. ISSN 1751-956X

Perez, J., Stow, J. and Iwnicki, S. (2006) ‘Application of active steering systems for the reduction of rolling contact fatigue on railsVehicle System Dynamics , 44 (sup1), pp. 730-740. ISSN 0042-3114

Iwnicki, S., Allen, P. and Stow, J. (2005) ‘Wheel/rail interface issuesJournal of the the Permanent Way Institution , 123 (3), pp. 123-127. ISSN 2057-2425

Conference Item

Stow, J., Cooney, N., Goodall, R. and Sellick, R. (2017) ‘The use of wheelmotors to provide active steering and guidance for a light rail vehicle’. In: The Stephenson Conference: Research for Railways, 25th-27th April 2017, London, UK

Zhao, Y., Goodall, R., Stow, J., Cooney, N. and Hawley, J. (2017) ‘Developing a wheel motor controller for an actively steered bogie using co-simulation’. In: IAVSD 2017, 14th-18th August 2017, Queensland, Australia

Muhamedsalih, Y., Bevan, A. and Stow, J. (2016) ‘Wheel Wear and Rail Damage Prediction for Wheels Turned with Thin Flanges’. In: 11th World Congress on Railway Research, 29th May - 2nd June 2016, Milan, Italy

Shackleton, P., Stow, J., Eickhoff, B. and Osman, M. (2013) ‘Reducing the Diameter of Freight Vehicle Wheels – The Suitability of Q/D as a Control for Wheel-Rail Contact Stress’. In: World Congress on Railway Research, 25th - 28th November 2013, Sydney, Australia


  • Currently managing a Strategic Partnership with RSSB responsible for the delivery of £1M p.a. of research in the field of railway engineering and safety risk modelling.
  • Responsible for vehicle dynamics investigations to support the acceptance by a Notified Body of re-powered Class 455 motor coaches.
  • Member of the ‘Cross Industry Working Group on Freight Train Derailments’.
  • Leading a series of projects into the management of track geometry defects for Network Rail
  • Principal Investigator on several Innovate UK and EIT projects developing innovative technology to be applied in the railway industry.
  • Experience of a range of light rail projects including leading a team providing wheel-rail interface design assurance for Gold Coast Rapid Transit (on behalf of Ove Arup, Australia) and Centro (for the Birmingham City Centre Extension).
  • Led a series of Network Rail and UK industry funded projects investigating the causes of rolling contact fatigue.
  • Author of ‘A Good Practice Guidelines for Managing the Wheel-Rail Interface of Light Rail / Tramway Systems’ for the UK Office of Rail Regulation.
  • Led projects which resulted in relaxation of Railway Group Standards for freight vehicle ride testing and permissible wheel diameter.
  • Experience in undertaking a wide range of vehicle dynamics simulation projects using Vampire.
  • Developing engineering standards for derailment resistance and platform gauging
  • Experience carrying out peer review and safety review work for clients including Devonport Dockyard, Docklands Light Railway and West Coast Route Modernisation.
  • Experience of leading a range of laboratory and on-vehicle tests and track inspection activities.
  • Project leader for the development of the Virtual Test Track software suite for Network Rail
  • Co-authored a number of papers on vehicle track interaction.
  • Course tutor / leader for short courses on rail vehicle dynamics and derailment prevention
  • Co-author of a Chapter on Track Recording Techniques and Vehicle Field Testing for “A Handbook of Railway Vehicle Dynamics”.
  • Past winner of the Permanent Way Institution silver award for journal papers

Research Degree Supervision

Current opportunities

Postgraduate research opportunities with Mr Julian Stow



Enterprise Activities

I undertake a wide range of consultancy work in the area of wheel-rail interface engineering and rail vehicle dynamics. Most recently this has included acting as the wheel-rail interface design authority for the Birmingham City Centre tram extension project. I have also led projects for Network Rail, Arup, Vossloh Kiepe UK, Centro, Serco, Docklands Light Railway and RSSB.

Administrative Responsibilities

Assistant Director, Institute of Railway Research

Teaching and Professional Activities

Developed and led professional development courses in:

  • Rail vehicle dynamics
  • Light rail wheel-rail interface engineering
  • Preventing derailments