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Institution news

SNC-Lavalin storm to victory in the Railway Challenge 2016

Institution News Team

L-R: Daniel Steenson, Spenser Gray, Andrianus Kresna Wirawan, Robert Bramley, Ibimina Dodiyi-Manuel, Danny Starbrook, Andris Upenieks, Paul Timms, Yassin Said, Owen Sidey and Sarah Hill.  Team member Stuart Milodowski is not shown in the photograph. Photograph courtesy of David Shirres
L-R: Daniel Steenson, Spenser Gray, Andrianus Kresna Wirawan, Robert Bramley, Ibimina Dodiyi-Manuel, Danny Starbrook, Andris Upenieks, Paul Timms, Yassin Said, Owen Sidey and Sarah Hill. Team member Stuart Milodowski is not shown in the photograph. Photograph courtesy of David Shirres

Eight teams from around the country competed in the Institution's Railway Challenge competition at Stapleford in Leicestershire.


A group of 12 budding engineers from SNC-Lavalin’s Rail & Transit team in Derby has won this year’s Railway Challenge after impressive performances in 10 different challenges.

This is the second time that a team from SNC-Lavalin has won, after victory in the 2012 competition under the company’s former name, Interfleet.

The full results were:

  1. SNC-Lavalin (1,291 points)
  2. TfL (789 points)
  3. University of Southampton (680 points)
  4. Bombardier & University of Derby (606 points)
  5. University of Huddersfield (283 points)
  6. WMG, University of Warwick (256 points)
  7. University of Sheffield‎ (221 points)
  8. University of Birmingham (‎107 points)

SNC-Lavalin's prize-winning locomotive. Photograph courtesy of David Shirres

Andris Upenieks, one of SNC-Lavalin’s Graduate Engineers, commented: “We are immensely proud of our achievement and take away some fantastic hands-on experience of what it takes to make a locomotive from start to finish. 

“Our focus is developing innovative solutions which drive technology forward within the rail industry, so this was a great opportunity to showcase our ideas.

“The experience will be invaluable in our future careers and we are thrilled that all our hard work has paid off.”

Bill Reeve, Chief Judge of the competition, said: “SNC-Lavalin put in an impressive performance across all 10 challenges, and their locomotive performed faultlessly. I would like to congratulate the team for their excellent project management, an innovative design and first-rate operational performance.

“The competition is run along the lines of a real-life tendering process, and I would like to congratulate all the teams that took part in what is an exciting and challenging competition. All the teams need to develop an initial concept, prepare a business case, finance, design, manufacture and build their locomotive from scratch.”

Railway Challenge 2016

University of Huddersfield team. Photograph courtesy of David Shirres

The competition took place on 2–3 July at the Stapleford Miniature Railway near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.

The competition comprises a series of track-based and presentation challenges, including a design report and (new for 2016) an ‘Innovation Challenge’ which involves the production of an academic paper on the innovations in the loco. The track-based challenges include: energy storage, traction, ride comfort, noise and maintainability.

The locomotives are designed to work on 10¼” gauge railway line and must be powerful enough to transport a 600kg load – including one of the Railway Challenge judges.

The trophy was presented to the winning team on Sunday 3 July by Prof Richard Folkson, Past President of the Institution.

Professor Richard Folkson with the SNC-Lavalin team
Professor Richard Folkson with the SNC-Lavalin team. Photograph courtesy of David Shirres

Find out more about the Railway Challenge

Find out more about Stapleford Miniature Railway.

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