Institution news

Ricardo Rail wins Railway Challenge

Press Office

Grand Champion and award winners Ricardo Rail
Grand Champion and award winners Ricardo Rail

Competition, held from 28 June – 1 July 2018 at the Stapleford Miniature Railway, Leicestershire by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers requires teams of up-and-coming engineers to build, design and run a locomotive.

A team of graduate student and apprentice engineers from consultancy Ricardo Rail beat nine other teams to be crowned the Grand Champion of this year’s Railway Challenge which was 

The competition requires participants to design and manufacture a miniature, 10 1/4” gauge railway locomotive.

The locomotives were tested in a series of track-based and presentation challenges.

These challenges include a design report and business presentation, as well as track-based challenges on the locomotive’s traction, ride comfort, noise, maintainability and ability to store energy.

Ricardo Rail beat teams from UK and German universities as well as last year’s winner SNC Lavalin Rail and Transit.

“This year’s Railway Challenge was the toughest competition yet. For Ricardo to win in the first year it has competed is an outstanding achievement. Good team work and project management, with sound system engineering and testing delivered impressive and reliable performance,” said Head Judge Bill Reeve, Director of Rail at Transport Scotland and a Fellow of the Institution.

“We had a team that worked really well together and benefited from cross-industry expertise by having railway and automotive team members. The general design wasn’t over complicated, though we did concentrated our efforts on the energy recovery,” said Benjamin Morley, Graduate Consultant Engineer and Project Manager of the Ricardo Rail team.

The judges said they were impressed by the wide range of solutions for traction and braking systems and suspension designs. The locomotives also featured fuel cells, internal combustion, batteries, super-capacitors, and mechanical energy storage.

Overall results:

  1. Grand Champion - Ricardo Rail
  2.  SNC-Lavalin Rail and Transit
  3.  University of Birmingham
  4.  FH Aachen and Reuschling University, Germany
  5.  TFL (Transport for London)
  6.  University of Sheffield
  7.  University of Warwick
  8.  University of Huddersfield
  9.  Bombardier Transportation and University of Derby
  10.  Siemens and University of Southampton.

Track-based challenges:

  • Energy Storage Challenge, sponsored by Network Rail: Ricardo Rail
  • Maintainability Challenge, sponsored by Young Rail Professionals: University of Sheffield
  • Traction Challenge, sponsored by Angel Trains: SNC-Lavalin Rail and Transit
  • Reliability Challenge, sponsored by Eversholt Rail Group: SNC-Lavalin Rail and Transit, Ricardo Rail and FH Aachen
  • Ride Comfort Challenge: SNC-Lavalin Rail and Transit
  • Noise Challenge: TFL (Transport for London).

Presentation challenges:

  • Innovation Challenge, sponsored by RSSB: SNC-Lavalin Rail and Transit
  • Business Case Challenge: TFL (Transport for London)
  • Design Challenge, sponsored by Porterbrook: SNC-Lavalin Rail and Transit.

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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