Graduate team retains IMechE’s Railway Challenge

Nine graduate engineers from SNC-Lavalin Rail & Transit in Derby have retained the award of Overall Winner at IMechE’s Railway Challenge 2017 at the Stapleford Miniature Railway near Melton Mowbray.

Winners of IMechE’s Railway Challenge 2017
Winners of IMechE’s Railway Challenge 2017

The competition took place between 30 June-2 July and saw 11 teams compete against each other to design and manufacture the best, most innovative, efficient and quietest small-scale locomotive. The SNC-Lavalin Rail & Transit team previously won the competition in 2012 and 2016.

David Westcough, team leader for SNC-Lavalin Rail & Transit said: “We are delighted that we’ve been able to retain the crown as Overall Winners. Our hard work has paid off and we are particularly pleased with our performance in the Reliability, Noise, Ride Comfort and Design Challenges.

“Taking part in the Railway Challenge has allowed us to put our imagination and resourcefulness to the test and given us the hands-on experience of what’s needed to make a locomotive from start to finish.”

Prof Simon Iwnicki, chair of the Railway Challenge Organising Committee, said: “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.”

According to IMechE, 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 loco. The track based challenges include: Energy Storage, Traction, Ride Comfort, Noise, Maintainability and Energy Efficiency.

The locomotives are designed to work on 10¼” gauge railway line and must be powerful enough to transport a 600kg load, including one of the Railway Challenge judges.

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The final results:
SNC-Lavalin Rail & Transit (Overall Winners and winners of the Ride Comfort Challenge, Noise Challenge, joint winners of the Design Challenge sponsored by Wabtec and joint winners of the Reliability Challenge)

Birmingham University and AEGIS Engineering Systems (winners of the Innovation Challenge sponsored by RSSB, the Energy Storage Challenge and joint winners of the Reliability Challenge)

Huddersfield University (joint winners of the Design Challenge sponsored by Wabtec and joint winners of the Reliability Challenge)

Sheffield University (winners of the Maintainability Challenge)

Transport for London (joint winners of the Design Challenge – sponsored by Wabtec)

Southampton University and Siemens Mobility (winners of the Traction Challenge)

Warwick University

Alstom UK & Ireland (winners of the Business Case Challenge sponsored by RIA)
FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences (winners of the Judges’ Award for Outstanding Initiative from a new team)

Bombardier Transportation and University of Derby

Brunel University (winners of the Judges’ Award for Most Interesting Locomotive Design.)

The Railway Challenge is sponsored by RSSB, the Railway Industry Association and Wabtec Faiveley UK

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