Professor Bridget Eickhoff MA, CEng, FIMechE

Professor Bridget Eickhoff

Department of Civil Engineering
Professor of Railway Interface Engineering

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Bridget Eickhoff is a Principal Infrastructure Engineer at RSSB (Rail Safety and Standards Board) and a leading authority on the wheel-rail and vehicle-track interfaces. Bridget has made significant contributions to multi-body simulation of vehicle dynamics in vehicle design and approvals and to improving railway performance by understanding of the wheel-rail interface, track forces and deterioration. She provides input to both GB and international standards connected to the interfaces between railway vehicles and infrastructure, she supports various research projects in related fields and contributes to a number of cross-industry railway groups.

Bridget was made an Honorary Professor at Birmingham in 2018, having become a visiting lecturer on the MSc programme in Railway Systems Engineering at the University of Sheffield in 1995. Today, she is an important contributor to the railway postgraduate programmes run by the BCRRE at the University of Birmingham. Within BCRRE she supports a range of activities linked to the MSc programmes, including the practical weekend in Wirksworth, and the PG Cert in Urban Railway Engineering (Singapore). In October 2019, Bridget was made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineers.


  • Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  • MA in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge, 1981
  • BA in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge, 1977
  • Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineers


Bridget graduated in Mathematics from Cambridge University in 1977 and joined British Rail Research as a research engineer. The development of digital computers enabled rapid progress in the mathematical modelling of engineered systems. Bridget was a core member of the team which developed simulation tools for railway vehicle dynamics, including the complex and highly non-linear wheel-rail contact forces. This involved carefully planned and executed full-scale on-track tests to investigate real-world behaviour, as well as theoretical understanding. Software, using the principles established by this research, is now routinely used in the specification, design, optimisation and approvals of railway vehicles.

Bridget progressed to applying her knowledge to improve railway safety and performance, specialising in wheel-rail and vehicle-track interaction, including the study of derailment mechanisms, track forces and deterioration, vehicle approval methods and passenger comfort. She began a long-term involvement in European standards-making, using both her technical and inter-personal skills, so that the ‘GB’ input was valued and listened to.

Following the derailment at Hatfield in October 2000, she was asked to join the international ‘task force’ set up to understand the science behind railway rolling contact fatigue and to develop tools and techniques now used to manage this interface, providing key dynamics input.

The EU FP7 DynoTrain research project (2009 to 2013) had objectives to extend the use of simulations and advance ‘interoperability’, such that testing and approvals completed in one country or network would automatically be accepted in another network, without additional costly and time-consuming work. The project involved 22 partner organisations across Europe. Bridget was a steering group member as well as leader for the GB input and for one of the 7 work packages. She played an active part in all the others. The project was very successful, thanks to a strong technical team. The results are already incorporated in several international standards and processes, delivering real benefits. Published papers on this work also won prizes from peer-reviewed journals.

Bridget joined the Rail Safety and Standards Board in 2008 and became Professional Head for infrastructure standards. She provides input into UK and international standards, improving global safety and leading adoption of sector best practice for the interfaces between the infrastructure and other railway systems. This has included contributions to the cross-industry body set up to investigate the causes of freight vehicle derailments, at the request of the Regulator. She is also the engineering lead in the development and implementation of the industry’s Platform Train Interface Strategy to improve the safety, accessibility and performance of this element of railway operations.


  • MSc programmes in RSEI & RSCS
  • PG Cert in Urban Railway Engineering (Singapore)

Postgraduate supervision

Support to MSc dissertation projects on a case-by-case basis, provision of input to doctoral level research.

Other activities

Bridget has been a member of the Board of the Railway Division of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for many years and was Chairman of the Division in 2012-2013. She supports the training activities of the IMechE and is a major force in the annual Railway Challenge competition. She was jointly awarded the James Clayton prize in 2017 and the George Stephenson Gold Medal in 2016.

Bridget is a member of various international standardisation committees including:

  • CEN TC256 WG10 Vehicle Track Interaction
  • CEN TC256 WG10 SG2 Wheel-rail contact parameters
  • CEN TC250 SC1 WG3 Task Group Existing Railway Bridges


Journal Articles

  • Bridget Eickhoff, Laura Mazzola, Yann Bezin, Gareth Tucker, Hinnerk Stradtmann, Andreas Haigermoser, Hugues Chollet and Jeremy Landais. “Track loading limits and cross-acceptance of vehicle approvals”, Dynotrain special issue of Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part F, Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, 2015, Vol 229(6) was awarded the 2016 Alfred Rosling Bennett Premium/Charles S Lake Award and the 2016 George Stephenson Gold Medal by the IMechE
  • Manfred Zacher, Dirk Nicklish, Gerald Grabner, Oldrich Polach and Bridget Eickhoff, “A multi-national survey of the contact geometry between wheels and rails”, Dynotrain special issue of Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F, Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, 2015 Vol 229(6) was awarded the 2016 T A Stewart-Dyer Prize/Frederick Harvey Trevithick Prize by the IMechE.
  • Andreas Haigermoser, Bridget Eickhoff, Dirk Thomas, Frederic Coudert, Gerald Grabner, Manfred Zacher, Sönke Kraft and Yann Bezin. “Describing and assessing track geometry quality”, Vehicle System Dynamics 2014.
  • B M Eickhoff and F Schmid (Guest Editors), Editorial for the special issue on tilting trains of the Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, pp i-iv, Vol. 212, Part F, No.1, Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, April 1998.
  • B.M.Eickhoff, “The Application of Independently Rotating Wheels to Railway Vehicles”. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, Vol 205, 1991.

Conference Papers

  • B M Eickhoff, J A Benyon, “Computer Simulation & Laboratory Testing – A Way to Minimise Track Testing Time”. World Congress on Railway Research, Florence, Italy, November 1997 (Best paper award).
  • B M Eickhoff, A K Carter, “Balancing the Costs and Benefits of Vehicle Approval Methods”. World Congress on Railway Research, Florence, Italy, November 1997.
  • B M Eickhoff, J R Evans, A J Minnis, “A Review of Modelling Methods for Railway Vehicle Suspension Components”. International Association of Vehicle System Dynamics, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, August 1995
  • B M Eickhoff, “Vehicle Track Interaction – Optimising the Use of Conventional Railways”. World Congress on Railway Research, Paris, France, November 1994
  • B.M.Eickhoff, “Vehicle Track Interaction Issues for High Speed Conventional Railways”. Paper presented at Stech ‘93 - International Conference on Speedup Technology, Yokohama, Japan, November 1993.
  • B.M.Eickhoff, R.F.Harvey, “Theoretical and Experimental Evaluation of Independently Rotating Wheels for Railway Vehicles”. Paper presented at the 11th IAVSD Symposium on the Dynamics of Vehicles on Roads and Tracks, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, August 1989.
  • R.A.Clark, B.M.Eickhoff, G.A.Hunt, “Prediction of the Dynamic Response of Vehicles to Lateral Track Irregularities”. Paper presented at the 7th IAVSD Symposium on the Dynamics of Vehicles on Roads and Tracks, Cambridge, U.K., September 1981.
  • J.A.Elkins, B.M.Eickhoff, “Advances in Non-linear Wheel-rail Force Prediction Methods and their Validation”. Paper presented at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Winter Conference, New York, December 1979.

Book Chapters

  • B M Eickhoff, “Wheel and Rail Profiles”, Handbook on Best Practice in the Management of the Wheel-Rail Interface on Mixed Traffic Railways, Autumn 2009.