Ricardo wins ImechE Railway Challenge 2018

Ricardo wins ImechE Railway Challenge 2018
02 July 2018

Congratulations to our team of graduates and apprentices who won first prize at the ImechE 2018 Railway Challenge.

The Challenge is an annual competition where teams of young engineers are tasked with designing and building a miniature (10¼” gauge) railway locomotive.

Each team spent several months putting together their plans, sourcing materials and organising test runs, before meeting up with competing entries for a weekend of trials.

The trials include acceleration, energy storage, regenerative braking, maintainability, noise and ride comfort.

Nine teams took part in this year's competition - hosted at Stapleford Miniature Railway in Leicestershire over the weekend of June 30/July 1st - including entrants from UK and German universities as well as teams representing familiar names in the rail sector.

“This year’s Railway Challenge was the toughest competition yet," said Head Judge Bill Reeve, Director of Rail at Transport Scotland and a Fellow of the Institution. "For Ricardo to win in the first year it has competed is an outstanding achievement. Good team work and project management, with sound system engineering and testing delivered impressive and reliable performance”.

Ben Morley, Graduate Consultant Engineer, who is based in the Derby office, was the overall Project Manager for our entry. “We had a team that worked really well together and benefited from cross-industry expertise by having colleagues from our rail and automotive businesses. The general design wasn’t over complicated, though we did concentrate our efforts on the energy recovery,”.

Introducing Ricardo Rocket

The team’s entry, 'Ricardo Rocket', was almost a year in the making. Initial design and planning began in September 2017, with the actual build undertaken over a six-week period in January and February 2018 – our thanks to LORAM UK Ltd, based in Derby’s Railway Technical Centre, for the use of their workshop.

The loco then underwent several weeks of testing through to early June - just a few weeks ahead of the actual Challenge.

The finishing touch was some eye-catching livery – a camouflage design usually used on prototype motor vehicles – which was provided by colleagues in Ricardo’s automotive division. A traditional yellow nose - as used by UK fleets across the mainline network - completed the look.

This was the first time Ricardo has entered the annual competition, but we are certain to be back next year to try and defend our title.

Congratulations to our graduates and apprentices who took part: Ben Morley, Justin Smith, Abigail Carson, Alice Callaghan, Daniel Liddle, Adam Heywood, Alice McGuigan, Robert MacGregor and Ross Palmer. And thanks to Martin Elliott, Professional Head of Traction & Rolling Stock, who was the nominated team supervisor.

Final results of the challenge can be found on the ImechE website: