30th June 2015

A team of seven graduates from Interfleet are runners-up in the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ (IMechE) 2015 Railway Challenge. The event, held at the Stapleford Miniature Railway near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, was won by a team from Transport for London.

Interfleet, a Member of SNC-Lavalin Group, competed against seven other teams to design and manufacture the best, most efficient and quietest small-scale locomotive. Interfleet were the first ever winners of the Railway Challenge in 2012. 

Birmingham University, Huddersfield University, Sheffield University, Southampton University, Swindon’s TE Connectivity and Warwick Manufacturing Group were also competing this year.

The competition was made up of two presentation challenges, one of which was the submission of a design report and the other was a business case presentation. There were also six track based challenges, which included: energy efficiency, energy storage, traction, ride comfort and noise. The competing locomotives were designed to work on 10¼” gauge railway line and had to be powerful enough to transport a 600kg load - including one of the Railway Challenge judges.

Philippa Oldham, Head of Transport and Manufacturing at the IMechE, said: “Each year, the Railway Challenge gives competitors a fantastic chance to test their engineering skills and get the hands-on experience of what’s needed to make a locomotive from start to finish. The competition ran along the lines of a real-life tendering process. Teams had to prepare a business case, finance, design, and build a locomotive from scratch.

“I really enjoyed seeing the new innovations in this year’s locomotives, particularly the solutions that were proposed for the energy storage and energy efficiency challenges.  These are two big issues currently faced by manufacturers. The solutions these young engineers developed as part of the competition could one day revolutionise modern railways. The 2015 contest was a particularly tight one, with more teams than ever and three previous winners taking part.”

Lynette Comrie, Graduate Development Manager at Interfleet said: “Our graduates - Pippa Bassindale, Pete Bryant, Lucas Campbell, Andrew Harvey, Alistair Lucas, Saheed Salami and Josh Turnbull - all did a fantastic job. Special thanks go to Pete Bryant, the group’s project manager. We’re very proud of everything the team has achieved and would relish the opportunity to compete again next year.”

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