Funding for railway research and innovation

The Institute of Railway Research (IRR) at the University of Huddersfield is to play a key role in a £92 million network aimed at establishing the UK as a world leader in rail technology.

The funding comes via the newly-announced UK Railway Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN).Following a bid led by the University of Birmingham, UKRRIN has been awarded £28.1m from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund and this is boosted by £64m of support from 17 industrial partners including Alstom, Siemens and Bombardier Transportation.

Experts at the IRR – which will receive £30m of funding – working with other universities and major manufacturers, will develop rolling stock that lasts longer, is more energy efficient and is less costly to maintain, leading to major environmental and economic gains. Research funding of almost £30m will flow into the IRR.

The Institute already has state-of-the-art facilities, including a £4.5m test rig. Now it will expand further, enabling larger and more diverse railway vehicle system components to be delivered to the IRR for research and testing.The new facilities will include an extended range of full-scale advanced test rigs to accelerate the adoption of new technology for the next generation of rolling stock and will become operational in 2019.

The vice-chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, Professor Bob Cryan, said: “I am deeply proud of the Institute of Railway Research, which is one of the jewels in our crown at Huddersfield. There will be great benefits to the future of rail transport and to UK manufacturing industry.”

UK rail passenger numbers had doubled over the past decade, meaning increased pressure on all parts of the railway system.Research by the partner institutions in UKRRIN and its industrial stakeholders is expected to help meet these challenges.