Power Electronics and Energy research

The Power Electronics and Energy research theme explores all aspects relating to energy and power of railway systems. Research focuses on modelling electric systems and subsystems for railways; carrying out measurement and instrumentation of vehicles and substations and bespoke design of converters for power electronics. The research group has developed software tools for use in railway traction simulation, single and multi-train simulators for assessing energy consumption, vehicle performance analysis and braking performance analysis.

Condition Monitoring 2 (1)


  • Single Train Simulator and Multi-Train Simulator Development:  These are used by a variety of industry partners throughout the world. Researchers at the Centre include a number of programmers who are able to adapt the simulators to fit specific scenarios and novel applications.


Simulation 2

  • Simulation of railway traction systems and power supplies: We have previously worked with Alstom, London Underground and are currently working with Atkins and Singapore Land Transit Authority.
  • Single train simulation: we are currently modelling the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit Railway to assess the impact of new rolling stock.


  • We have instrumented vehicles and infrastructure on the Merseyrail network with detailed energy and vehicle performance equipment.  This work was part funded by the DfT and EPSRC.


  • Train sub-system monitoring, control and system integration: We have worked with the American Public Transport Association's Train Door Group, Vapour, Alstom South East Trains and Southern.
  • University of Birmingham bespoke instrumentation has been used on the Merseyrail Network. We are also engaged in developing whole-system energy saving strategies for the railway.

Traction Power & Energy storage

  • Regenerative braking studies and traction efficiency studies: We have previously undertaken work for MTR, Hong Kong and currently have a number of PhD students working on system modelling.
  • We undertook studies for the DfT assessing the feasibility of hybrid railway vehicles for high-speed and commuter railways.
  • We have laboratory equipment which can assess energy storage devices and power electronic converters; all backed up with detail vehicle simulation models.
  • We have undertaken simulation studies on behalf of the Department for Transport to investigate the feasibility of a number of innovative traction systems.
  • We are expert advisers for a number of railway projects including CrossRail; where we advise on systems engineering, including power supply, energy management and railway control systems.

Traffic management

  • We undertake research into algorithms for energy efficient railway traffic manage­ment; which includes real time control of trajectories.

Traffic Management
Traffic Management 2

Data analysis

  • We have undertaken work for ATOC - investigating the effectiveness of partial fleet fitment of energy meters.

Data AnalysisData Analysis 2

  • We have developed methodology to identify driver styles and driver characteristics from large energy and control data sets which can be used to improve driver instruction, training and reduce energy consumption.

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