Power and Traction 

25 kV trackAcademic staff

hydrail-conference-logo

On the 3rd-4th of July 2012 the University of Birmingham hosted the 7th International Hydrail Conference. This was a successful event attended by approximately 50 people with presentations from a range of experts. The University of Birmingham’s “Hydrogen Pioneer” locomotive was also demonstrated at the conference. Presentations from the conference are available on http://hydrail.org.


The University of Birmingham also recently hosted the 4th International Conference on Railway Traction Systems on the 13-15th of April 2010. The papers are available on IEEExplore.


Hybrid DMU

Members of the railway research team within the School of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering have developed a range of software tools for use in railway simulation. 

The single vehicle simulators are suitable for simulation of a range of propulsion packages, and are able to assess and model the impact of a range of driving styles for both high speed and sub-urban autonomous traction vehicles. The modular nature of these software tools is suitable for hardware-in-the-loop and sub-component and component testing.

Hybridity plotBoth single-train and multi-train simulators have been developed to fully model complex DC railway systems. The simulators solve the coupled rail vehicle - power network problem for typical timetabled movements and disrupted service scenarios.

The multi-train simulator has been developed to fully model complex DC railway systems. The simulator solves the coupled rail vehicle - power network problem for typical timetabled movements. The software has been used to model a range of DC railways including sections of London Underground, Docklands Light Railway and the Hong Kong Metro.

The group have recently opened the Energy Systems Integration Laboratory. The laboratory - unique within the UK and world leading - brings together cutting edge dynamometer, energy storage, simulation and instrumentation technologies to provide a highly flexible research facility for the evaluation and design of hybrid electric traction systems. More information can be found at the Energy Systems Integration Laboratory (ESIL).

Current Projects:

  • Department for Transport – Calculation of Energy Consumption of Hybrid High Speed Trains - report available
  • Department for Transport – Calculation of Energy Consumption of Commuter Trains - report available
  • Mersey Rail – Evaluation of Energy Saving Strategies
  • EC – Environmental Management Tools for Infrastructure Managers (InfraGuider)
  • PhD Student - Improving the Energy Efficiency of Railway Regenerative Braking Systems
  • PhD Student – Optimised Supervisory Control for Hybrid Rail Vehicles
  • PhD Student – Strategies for Evaluation of Future Propulsion Systems
  • PhD Student – Hydrogen Railway Research