Rail Industry Focus


The benefits of aluminium honeycomb to the rail industry

Source: Advertisement feature

Gillian Haverson, senior marketing executive at Corex Honeycomb, explains how the company’s innovative aluminium honeycomb material is supporting several large-scale rail projects in the UK.

Corex Honeycomb has been a trusted manufacturer of aluminium honeycomb core material, supplying the European rail sector for over 20 years. When used in a bonded composite sandwich panel, the high strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance provide the perfect material for use in doors, floors, furniture, galley and sanitary modules, interior panel partitions, and energy absorbers.

We have collaborated with TRB Lightweight Structures, providing aluminium honeycomb used in the energy-efficient Personal Rapid Transit Pod at London Heathrow Airport. The pod is an ultra-lightweight, electric, unmanned vehicle connecting Heathrow’s business car park with Terminal 5 via a guide way. TRB Lightweight Structures produced the chassis and floor of the pod utilising Corex aluminium honeycomb in the composite panels to create a lightweight, high-strength structure.


Alongside TRB Lightweight Structures, Corex Honeycomb also supplied aluminium honeycomb for the Hitachi Class 800 and 801 train projects, which form part of the UK Intercity Express Programme. Hitachi Rail Europe provided new electric and bi-mode trains for the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line. The DfT started this programme to replace the ageing high-speed trains.

The family of new Class 800 and 801 trains constituted a change in capacity, improved reliability, and reduced environmental impact on every train journey.

Corex Honeycomb also supplies aluminium honeycomb to Wabtec Faiveley, which specialises in the life extension, overhaul, maintenance and refurbishment of rolling stock in the UK. Its refurbishment programme includes London Underground’s Waterloo and City trains and the maintenance, interior upgrades, and refurbishments of diesel and EMU high-speed trains locomotives and coaching stock. They have also used Corex aluminium honeycomb in train doors for the Eurostar high-speed railway service connecting London with mainland Europe.

The Corex team has worked with our engineering department to develop a flexible aluminium honeycomb, SuperFlex. By adjusting elements of our production process, the cell geometry has been adapted so the aluminium honeycomb can bend and flex. The resulting benefit of this cell configuration is that the flexible honeycomb can be used for curved panels, spherical, cylindrical and organic shapes. As a sandwich panel, the flexible honeycomb can be used for a wide range of applications, including train interiors; like the standard aluminium honeycomb, the product adds strength without increasing weight significantly.

SuperFlex ballThe Superflex

Our aluminium honeycomb is now available to buy online through our Corex Express shop. We hold stock of our most popular cell sizes, offering worldwide shipping and convenient payment options. The fast despatch means that you can make use of this incredible material in your composite project without a manufacturing delay or minimum order value.

We also have an on-site test laboratory for aluminium honeycomb structures, which enables us to perform tests for our customers. We can offer the following tests using a Universal Test Machine (Instan or Lloyds): lap shear, T-peel, climbing drum, flatwise tensile.


Corex Honeycomb has a range of aluminium honeycomb structures, products and services to offer. Please visit our website to learn more, or contact us for more information.


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