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TfL wins IMechE’s Railway Challenge for second year in a row

A team of budding engineers from Transport for London (TfL) have won the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ (IMechE) Railway Challenge for the second year in a row.

The team of 11 engineers won the national competition to design and manufacture the most efficient and quietest small-scale locomotive – designed to work on 10¼” gauge line whilst hauling a 600kg load, which included one of the Railway Challenge judges.

During the two-day event at Stapleford Miniature Railway near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, TfL competed against teams from Derby’s Interfleet Technology Ltd (2nd), the University of Southampton (3rd) as well as the University of Birmingham, University of Huddersfield, University of Sheffield, and Swindon’s TE Connectivity.

TfL team with loco courtesy of David Shirres

Bejal Mandalia, from the TfL team, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and the whole team is delighted that all our hard work this year has paid off.

“Taking part in the Railway Challenge has given the whole team very useful experience of the whole process of developing a locomotive. This hands-on experience is going to be hugely valuable to our future careers maintaining and developing London’s rail and Underground network.”

TFL team with Bill Reeve and IMechE President courtesy of David Shirres

The competition comprises two presentation challenges, one of which is the submission of a design report and the other being a business case presentation, and six track-based challenges.  These were: energy storage; traction; ride comfort; noise; and – new for the 2015 competition – maintainability and energy efficiency.

Prof Richard Folkson, president of the IMechE, who presented TfL with their award, said: “TfL did fantastically well ― they showed ingenuity, ambition and fantastic team-work. Their success is particularly impressive given the pressure to follow last year’s triumphant TfL team.”

(Images by: David Shirres)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Nonsuchmike   06/07/2015 at 15:48

The ability & resourcefulness of our young engineers and designers fills me with admiration. What they do, in the field of rail or elsewhere, reminds me of that old saying - "The impossible we do now; miracles take a little longer". This shows that given the will to achieve anything, British engineering could do almost anything it wishes in probably half the time that committees would give credence to. So why can't we start HS2 from the north and mIdlands at the same time as from the south? Why can't we have an underground interchange station between Euston and St Pancras? And an interchange with HS1 from OOC and Stratford International? Why can't we have HS2 going round the back of Wigan instead of through the middle? Why can't HS2 go to Liverpool, Stoke on Trent, Hull and onwards to Scotland? Why can't there be an Avonmouth/Bristol/Henwood loop?An upgrade of all Trans-Pennine lines including the Woodhead, and reintroduction of a dualled Colne to Skipton line? If we have the will, our engineers can work out the methods and materials needed. I think it is the will of the companies and their balance sheets with lobbying of the Government that keeps us in the throes of Victoriana post Beeching. I call for new thinking; new resolve; a new willingness to approach the future with confidence based upon an integrated transport system with bus, rail and flight together, not as separate entities.

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