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Researchers model safer railways

Published: 25th November 2005

MMU scientists have taken another step forward in simulating better and safer railway tracks.

Rail Technology Unit researchers have secured a £128k CORUS grant to create an improved computer simulation model to better predict the forces between the wheels of the train and the track.

Principal Investigator Simon Iwnicki said the aim was to try to improve the existing available computer tools by combining two systems.

The research

Currently, computer tools used to simulate railway vehicle-track interaction and predict defects use a technique called multi-body systems which do not include the flexibility of the rail and other track components. The MMU work intends to combine multi-body systems with finite elements so that engineers are able to allow for flexibility and change in the tracks.

Although much of the testing will be done using the simulation software, the tests will be validated using real life examples.

Dr Iwnicki said: “This is a step forward for computer modelling. Up until now, the models available have been limited in the way that they can represent the track but with our funding and the work of our partners, this model will help to reduce costs and improve safety.”

Simon is working with Yann Bezin, project manager and MMU graduate, who has previously trained with software company MSC. Software in Italy and America.

MMU will also be working with the DTI, CORUS, Network Rail and MSC. Software on the project.