UK: The University of Leeds’ Institute for High Speed Rail & System Integration is on course to open by the end of 2020 after it was granted £11m in government research funding on July 10, distributed via the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund. The institute is also set to receive £40m from the university and rail industry partners and £13m from a Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Deal.
The university intends to develop ‘one of the most advanced conventional and high speed rail research facilities in the world’, which will be located to the south of the city in the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone at Gateway 45.
The institute will contain three test facilities. The first would be a vehicle testing rig with variable, programmable track geometry which will be designed to replicate any rail journey in the world for operation at up to 400 km/h. This will support research into traction systems, braking, material use and ways of increasing energy efficiency.
The infrastructure test site will simulate the forces on track, ballast and support structures for both conventional and high speed trains. It will be built in an open field rather than a laboratory, allowing ground dynamics to be more accurately simulated.
The third hub is a System Integration & Innovation Centre, which will investigate train, track, power systems and signalling as an integrated system, to investigate how changes to one sub-system interacts with others. It will be able to analyse data from the vehicle and infrastructure testing rigs, and will support tests examining digital signalling, power systems and electro-magnetic interference.
‘The institute will revolutionise the testing, commissioning and building of new trains, rail infrastructure and systems, both in the UK and overseas’, says Prof Peter Woodward, Head of IHSRSI. ‘The test facilities will place Leeds as a global leader in high speed railway development, significantly enhancing the UK’s ability to develop, test and certify new railway technologies for the commercial export market.’