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Germany’s Aachen University of Applied Sciences wins the Railway Challenge 2019

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Transport for London is runner up. Ricardo Rail team takes third place. Record 14 teams take part in this year’s Challenge. ​

Young engineers from Germany’s Aachen University of Applied Sciences won the Railway Challenge 2019, beating teams from the UK and Poland in the competition which took place at the weekend at the Stapleford Miniature Railway in Leicestershire.

The runner-up was the team from Transport for London, while Ricardo Rail took third spot.

The competition, which is run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Railway Division, challenges participants to design and build a locomotive using their creativity and technical skills to apply the latest railway technology.

The competition is in its eighth year and is growing in popularity, with a record 14 teams of students and apprentices taking part in this year’s Challenge.

“We are participating now for the third time in the Railway Challenge and have continued to make progress each year. This time it was enough for us to take the trophy back with us. It’s always an incredible pleasure to be here at the Stapleford Miniature Railway,” said Robin Muhlmeyer, leader of the Aachen University team.

The competition showcases innovation and the challenge this year was for the teams to build an emergency automatic braking mechanism in their locomotives.

 ‘When I come to this event, I see enthusiastic teams learning in a short period, a huge amount about the realities of engineering projects. I also see real innovation in engineering design tested here in a low risk environment,” said Bill Reeve, Head Judge of the Railway Challenge and Director of Rail at Transport Scotland.

The locomotives were tested at the competition weekend on 28-30 June 2019 in a series of track-based and presentation challenges. Guest of honour at the event was Malise Graham, Mayor of the Borough of Melton.

The Railway Challenge is supported by Angel Trains, Beacon Rail Leasing, Network Rail, the Rail Safety and Standards Board and the Young Rail Professionals Group. 

Here are the results of the Railway Challenge 2019:

  • Grand Champion: Aachen University of Applied Sciences
  • Runner up: Transport for London
  • Third place: Ricardo Rail
  • Auto stop: Aachen University of Applied Sciences
  • Noise: Bombardier / University of Derby
  • Ride Comfort: Aachen University of Applied Sciences
  • Reliability: University of Sheffield and Bombardier / University of Derby
  • Innovation: University of Warwick
  • Design: Transport for London and SNC-Lavalin
  • Traction: Ricardo Rail
  • Energy: Aachen University of Applied Sciences
  • Business Case: Transport for London
  • Maintainability: Bombardier / University of Derby
  • Poster: SNC-Lavalin
  • Poster popular vote : SNC-Lavalin
  • Special award for ingenuity and elegance in mechanical design: PUTrain University of Poznan.

Notes to Editors

  • Contact the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Press Office on 020 7973 1261 or email
  • The Institution of Mechanical Engineers was established in 1847 and has some of the world’s greatest engineers in its history books. It is one of the fastest growing professional engineering institutions. Headquartered in London, we have operations around the world and over 120,000 members in more than 140 countries working at the heart of the most important and dynamic industries such as the automotive, rail, aerospace, medical, power and construction industries.

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