Teams of engineers from across the country – and even one from abroad – are preparing for this year’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Railway Challenge.

Organisers are expecting a bumper 2017 with more teams entering than ever before.

Among the competitors is a team of nine graduate engineers from 2012 and 2016 champions SNC-Lavalin.

SNC-Lavalin’s team leader David Westcough said: “Taking part in the Railway Challenge gives us the opportunity to put our imagination and resourcefulness to the test.

“As graduate engineers, the experience will be invaluable to the whole team in our future careers and we are looking forward to the final competition in June.”

The competition will see 12 teams compete against each other to design and manufacture the best, most innovative, efficient and quietest small-scale locomotive.

The competition comprises of a series of track-based and presentation challenges, including a design report and an ‘innovation challenge’ which involves the production of an academic paper on the innovations in the locomotive. The track-based challenges include: energy storage, traction, ride comfort, noise, maintainability and energy efficiency.

Philippa Oldham, head of transport and manufacturing at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The Railway Challenge gives competitors a fantastic chance to test their engineering skills and get the hands-on experience of what’s needed to make a locomotive from start to finish.

“Each year the entries impress the judges with new innovations, of particular note are the solutions proposed for the energy storage and energy efficiency challenges. These are two big issues currently being faced by manufacturers and so solving these challenges could mean that these young engineers could help to revolutionise our modern railways.

“This year looks set to be a tight contest, with more teams than ever and three previous winners taking part.”

The full list of entrants is as follows: 

  • Alstom UK & Ireland
  • University of Birmingham
  • Bombardier/Derby University
  • Brunel University
  • FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • University of Huddersfield
  • SNC-Lavalin
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Southampton
  • Transport for London
  • WMG, University of Warwick

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Railway Challenge 2017 is taking place on June 29 to July 2 at the Stapleford Miniature Railway near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.


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