AEA Technology’s new rail division plans to create 50 jobs and invest £750,000 annually in new products.
A programme is under way to recruit 30 graduates as well as signalling experts and traction and rolling stock engineers. The division will continue to be based at Derby.
The division has been created by integrating the 270-employee British Rail Research, acquired in 1996, with the parent company’s project management operations.
AEA Technology Rail managing director Cliff Perry said that since the takeover of BRR it had undergone a ‘fundamental shift’ from being the research wing of the national railway industry to become a technology supplier.
Joint work proposed by BRR and the parent company includes airflow modelling, non-destructive testing, and structural analysis, including simulated crash testing.
In addition, Perry said the rail division would benefit from the parent company’s experience in the energy and offshore industries.
Techniques such as ultrasonic testing, pioneered by the rail industry 20 years ago to test axles, have been developed to a more sophisticated level in the nuclear industry. These developments could now be fed back into rail applications, Perry said.
One of the main product areas will be software for monitoring systems aimed at more effective use of rolling stock.
A single contact person will be designated to deal with customers in each of a number of sectors including train operating companies, leasing companies, manufacturers, infrastructure maintenance, and light rail.