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Transport for London budding engineers win national competition to make best locomotive

the Press Office

TfL triumph at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Railway Challenge for a second year in a row.

A team of 11 budding engineers from Transport for London (TfL) have won a national competition to design and manufacture the most efficient, reliable and quietest small-scale locomotive at a competition held at Stapleford Miniature Railway near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.

The team went head-to-head on 27-28 June with 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.

The locomotives are designed to work on 10¼” gauge railway line and compete whilst hauling a 600kg load – which includes one of the Railway Challenge judges. 

Prof Richard Folkson, President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 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.

“The Railway Challenge presents a unique opportunity for these young engineers to convert their designs into practical applications. The competition is gruelling and runs along the lines of a real-life tendering process. The teams have to prepare a business case, safety case, financial plans and design, and have to build a locomotive from scratch.

“I would like to congratulate not only TfL, but all the teams for taking part, as well as acknowledge the fantastic work of the volunteers to make the event so successful and allow it to grow year-on-year”

Bejal Mandalia, from 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.”

The Railway Challenge is organised and supported by members of the Institution's Railway Division. The competition comprises of 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 which will be decided over the weekend.  These include: energy storage, traction, ride comfort, noise and new for the 2015 competition maintainability and energy efficiency.

Notes to Editors

  • Photos courtesy of David Shirres. 

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