Singapore’s largest railway operator and the University of Birmingham - one of the UK’s top universities for railway science and education - have embarked on four research projects that will enhance the reliability of railway networks.
About 20 engineers from SMRT Corporation will be involved in research carried out at the University’s state-of-the-art railway laboratories. When necessary, SMRT equipment and engineering staff will be sent to the UK or vice versa depending on the nature of the projects.
The projects are guided by a Master Research & Collaboration Agreement signed between the University of Birmingham and SMRT that promotes joint research into railway engineering by both signatories. Under the agreement, researchers from the University and rail operator will look into projects to improve the reliability of rail infrastructure and power systems.
Commenting on the joint research effort, Mr Ng Bor Kiat, Chief Technology Officer, SMRT Trains, said: “We are delighted to partner the University of Birmingham once again to deepen and broaden expertise in railway engineering. These research projects complement the effort by SMRT Trains to work towards a reliability-centric maintenance approach. This will benefit commuters as engineering staff can intervene proactively to fix faults before they occur.
“At the heart of this effort is the increased use of condition monitoring devices, simulation tools and data analytics, which are among the research areas spearheaded by the UoB-SMRT research agreement. The pairing of academic know-how with the experience gained by heavy rail engineers is a valuable combination that will lead to better reliability, availability and safety. In short, a better journey for rail commuters.”
Professor Clive Roberts, Director of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, said: “We are delighted to be commencing four interesting research projects with SMRT, which will enable us to demonstrate the benefits of our research on a live network.
"Three of the projects will focus of condition monitoring of different railway assets, and will take forward research that has been previously developed in the laboratory. The fourth project will provide a detailed understanding of the dynamic loads on the railway power system.”
In October 2016, SMRT and the University of Birmingham jointly announced the launch a post graduate course in railway engineering. The three-year course will be the first of its kind for engineers here.
It will be jointly administered by the SMRT Institute, which serves as the academic centre for SMRT, and the University’s Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE), whose railway education programmes attract staff from leading metro operators such as the London Underground and the Taipei Metro.
The course is unique because it provides course participants with perspectives from an institute of higher learning for railway education as well as real-world operator experience.
The intellectual framework provided by the University of Birmingham, when strengthened with lessons learned by SMRT in the course of running heavy and light rail systems, will contribute to accelerating the development of our rapidly growing railway engineering workforce.
This is achieved by providing a strong academic foundation for course participants, tempered by knowledge of how classroom concepts are applied in real-world situations.
• The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.