The £4.5m test rig, which was financed by the EU’s Regional Growth Fund, will enable in-depth investigation of many issues surrounding the wheel-rail contact area.


“We do a lot of research by computer modelling, but this needs to be supported by testing and that is why what we are showing you today is so important to us,” Professor Simon Iwnicki, director of the IRR, said at the opening ceremony.

Installation of the rig required 95 piles to be sunk 5m deep and a system of air springs to prevent excessive vibration.

The Centre for Innovation in Rail will help to accelerate innovations in railway technology and products and act as a conduit for research within the IRR. The centre will work with industry, especially small and medium-sized firms.