IMechE Railway Challenge adds automatic braking test


This year’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Railway Challenge will feature an automatic braking component for the first time, pushing students to create safety systems for next-generation trains.

Railway Challenge
(Credit: IMechE)

The 2019 event will see the introduction of a new auto–stop function element to the competition, where participating teams will have to design their locomotive to stop automatically as close as possible to a marked point on the track. Teams will also be required to produce a technical poster to encourage participants to communicate effectively how the principal systems of their locomotive work.

“Introducing an auto-stop element to the competition encourages the next generation of engineers to understand the critical nature of railway safety,” said Professor Simon Iwnicki, chairman of the IMechE Railway Challenge.

Railway Challenge
(Credit: IMechE)

“It also gives them practical experience in designing a safety critical system. This new part of the competition will give early-career engineers the experience of designing, building and operating a locomotive which can help to prevent accidents.”

The competition, which was launched in 2012, requires participants to design and manufacture a miniature gauge, railway locomotive in accordance with a number of precise rules. Locomotives will be tested at the competition weekend in the summer of 2019, taking place at Stapleford Miniature Railway in Leicestershire. Challenges include a design report and business presentation, as well as track-based challenges on the locomotive’s traction, ride comfort, noise, maintainability and ability to store energy.

Confirmed teams taking part in the Railway Challenge 2019 are:

  1. University of Huddersfield
  2. University of Warwick
  3. FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences & Reuschling, team Emma loves J.I.M
  4. Transport for London
  5. Brunel University London, team The Brunelian Express
  6. Helwan University, team Apene
  7. Ricardo Rail
  8. University of Sheffield
  9. Bombardier Transportation & University of Derby
  10. SNC-Lavalin & Transit
  11. Newcastle University
  12. South Western Railway/ CEMAST
  13. Poznań University of Technology, team PUTrain
  14. Network Rail
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