UK and China establish rail research centre

The University of Southampton and Chinese high-speed train manufacturer CSR Qingdao Sifang (CSR) have signed an agreement to establish a centre for railway research and development.

Imperial College London and the University of Birmingham are also involved in the 'China-UK Rail Transit Technology Joint Research and Development Centre'. It will undertake research to develop new technologies, materials and manufacturing processes for high-speed trains and metros.

The University of Southampton's Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) is collaborating with CSR, which has manufactured around half of China's high-speed rail fleet, on research and development into biodynamics and ride comfort, vibration and noise reduction, human factors and staff training.

The ISVR established an initial collaboration with CSR two years ago. Two joint projects on cabin active noise control and passenger sound quality are currently ongoing. The main focus of the new project is research into and the development of an active noise control seat to improve ride comfort and to reduce noise in the passenger's head area.

The research will be conducted using the ISVR's six-axis motion simulator at its Human Factors Research Unit. The simulator reproduces vehicle motion in both translational (fore-and-aft, lateral and vertical) and rotational (roll, pitch and yaw) axes. It can be used for measuring the interactions between motion, noise, seating and the thermal environment within vehicles and their effects on passengers.

Dr Yi Qiu, associate professor in ISVR, said: "The implementation and outcomes of the project will help advance our understanding of the characteristics of passenger ride vibration and acoustics to develop better solutions for reducing vibration and noise to improve ride comfort for high-speed trains."