The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education brings together a multidisciplinary team from across the University to tackle fundamental railway engineering problems. The team actively engage with industry, other universities through Rail Research UK-A, and international partners.

The TRAIN (Transient Railway Aerodynamics Investigation) Rig is a highly versatile moving model rig that can be used for a wide variety of railway aerodynamic investigations. In broad terms, it consists of a 150m long track along which model vehicles can be propelled, in both directions, at speeds of up to 75m/s. It is housed in a purpose built enclosure on the RTC Business Park, Derby and has an overall length of 150m with a 50m long test section. The models used are usually at 1/25th scale and are propelled along the track by rubber catapults. A cross flow facility is provided adjacent to the test section to permit tests to be carried out on the effects of winds on vehicles and the influence of winds on vehicle slipstream flows. It can be used for a number of different types of investigation – slipstream studies, cross wind measurements, train passing pressure measurement and tunnel studies for example, ranging from fundamental “blue sky” research to applied industrially funded work. Recent work of the first type includes EPSRC funded measurements of the slipstreams and pressure transients from Class 43 (HST) vehicles for comparison with on-going full scale on-train and trackside measurements; and research student projects on the effect of flow confinement on the flow around trains (such as hoardings, deep cuttings and overbridges) and on fundamental aspects of freight train aerodynamics. More applied projects include the RSSB funded measurement of loads caused by a number of different train types on trackside structures (for a UK national annex for a CEN code of practice); measurements of tunnel pressure transients as part of an EU project investigating the emission of sonic booms from tunnels at high train speeds; and measurements of train pressure loading and tunnel effects for high speed rail operators in the UK and overseas.

To read more about our work visit the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education website.

Prof Chris Baker MA, PhD, CEng, FICE, FIHT, FHEA, FRMetS
Professor of Environmental Fluid Mechanics
Director of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education