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University of Birmingham - Articles and news items

British and Chinese universities sign research agreement on joint high-speed rail lab

Rail industry news / 23 September 2015 /

A research cooperation agreement has been signed between the University of Birmingham and Beijing Jiaotong University on plans to establish a joint international high-speed rail research laboratory.

Understanding the phenomena of train aerodynamics

Issue 5 2013 / 26 September 2013 /

In very broad terms, railway aerodynamic effects increase in severity with the square of the speed of the train – and historically came to become of concern as the speed of passenger trains increased beyond around 100km/h. In the first instance, attention was paid to reducing the aerodynamic drag of trains, both to reduce fuel consumption and to enable higher speeds to be achieved. As long ago as 1938, tests were being carried out at the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Research Centre at Derby to measure the aerodynamic drag of Coronation class steam engines, and to investigate smoke dispersion around the locomotive. But a whole series of other issues rapidly became apparent as train speeds of 200km/h or more became common.

The existence of severe pressure transients in tunnels that caused considerable passenger discomfort was investigated in both Europe and Japan. Indeed in the UK aerodynamic speed limits were imposed on some narrow Victorian tunnels where the pressure transients were found to be very severe at higher train speeds.

Optimal Networks for Train Integration Management across Europe

Issue 3 2013 / 23 May 2013 /

Throughout Europe, many of the existing mainline railways are heavily congested, resulting in services being very susceptible to minor delays and disturbances. There is therefore a need to find new methods to make better use of the existing capability of the system through improved management of train delays and other incidents, which will also have the benefit of increased customer satisfaction and the potential to reduce energy utilisation.