Design & engineering

Design & engineering

From initial concept through to fully engineered production drawings

Our design and engineering teams have a proven record of delivering innovative, cost-effective designs across all forms of rolling stock. 

Previous assignments have included multiple units, locomotives, coaches, freight and even heritage models, and have ranged from full bodyshell design to interior refurbishments. We also design bespoke components and sub-systems such as bogies and under-frame equipment.

From design studios fully equipped with state-of-the-art CAD and FEA facilities we will oversee the project from initial concept through to fully engineered production drawings. Capabilities include:

  • Project engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Structural analysis
  • Weight analysis
  • Gauging and dynamic analysis
  • Electrical design
  • Mechanical design

Each project is closely managed to ensure the full suite of required standards is met.

Scope of services

We offer a full design service for all types of vehicle, including:

  • Passenger vehicle design – developing full bodyshells, modifications, additions and interior refurbishment – using state-of-the-art CAD and FEA facilities.
  • Freight vehicles from the development of novel concepts to fully engineered production drawings, all meeting the full suite of standards required.
  • Feasibility studies for new and modified freight or passenger vehicles.
  • Structural engineering for the assessment of bodyshells, interior attachments and under-frame equipment.
  • Bogie design – from full locomotive bogies to modifications.
  • Investigation and analysis of structural failures, including those resulting from fatigue, corrosion or accident.
  • Creative thinking for interior design of modern passenger vehicles – includes refurbishment of existing fleet and installation of systems such as CCTV, PIS, WiFi, etc.
  • Detailed gauging and dynamics analysis, including kinematic envelopes, swept envelope comparisons, clearance assessments and vehicle size/load optimizations.

Example projects

Biomass freight wagon design

An award-winning design for our client looking to retro-fit an existing fleet of freight hopper wagons with automated lids so that they could be utilized to carry Biomass freight on the UK network. For full story click here.

EMU bodyshell

We completed the complex structural design of an EMU aluminium bodyshell, involving four doors per side and a combination of a welded and bolted assembly.

Switch and crossing wagon

Following our detailed feasibility study, we completed the design of a wagon to carry switch and crossing panels in the UK. A tilting table allows the panels to be loaded horizontally and then tipped to occupy the available loading gauge for transport to site, reducing the possession time required on the operational railway.

Locomotive bogie

A metre gauge, fabricated Co-Co bogie was fully designed with:

  • Locomotive Interfaces
  • All equipment installation (motors, brakes, etc)
  • Structural analysis to both the client's internal and internationally recognized codes for proof and fatigue analysis
  • Full dynamic analysis using measured track data and required standards
  • Weight minimization
  • Reliability and maintenance optimization
  • Full production drawings
  • Test specifications

TBTC installation design

Our client required a Transmission-Based Train Control (TBTC) system to be integrated alongside the existing safety systems on various types of vehicles. This required a full assessment of the fleet, followed by design and engineering to install electronic equipment, various antennas, axle end odometry and man/machine interfaces.

Scomi monorail transmission

We successfully applied our expertise in driveline and transmissions engineering (complete driveline design and manufactureto the rail industry, and have demonstrated this with our client, Scomi Rail  a leading provider of urban transit systems. Scomi Rail required a new integrated upgrade of their monorail driveline to allow for an increase in power, performance and durability.

We provided a solution in six months, with the design, development and manufacture of the first prototypes from blank sheet. We were successful in delivering signicant performance improvements, with weight reduction of 25% and increased endurance/reliability, which allowed for an upgrade from 170kW to 260kW.

We now have a contract for the production supply of the drivelines.

Locomotive engine development – performance, efficiency and reliability enhancement

Ricardo has assisted CNR (Dalian) over a thirty-year period in the design and development of the CNR 240 Z locomotive engine and in market analysis to assess future product strategy.

Initially increasing the performance, fuel efficiency and reliability of CNR’s sixteen cylinder 240 railway locomotive engine, this collaboration extended to the very successful upgrade of CNR’s product through a series of projects over a period of thirty years.

The cooperation included technology and knowledge transfer through on-site working, and most recently has explored the development of CNR’s future large engine products.