Interfleet Graduates win IMechE Railway Challenge

02 July 2012

Interfleet Graduates

The first locomotive to be built at Derby Locomotive Works for 35 years, albeit one of 10 ¼” gauge, yesterday won the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) first Railway Challenge competition.

The locomotive was manufactured at the Roundhouse in Derby by a team of Interfleet graduate engineers.

Competitors from Manchester Metropolitan University, Birmingham University and an independent team from Derby all took part in the event.

The Stapleford Miniature Railway, near Melton Mowbray, provided a test track for the teams to demonstrate how their locomotives met the competition’s performance criteria which concerned traction power, ride quality and, most importantly, the storage of energy during retardation to power the locomotive when required.

Stephen Head, Interfleet’s team leader, said that the most difficult part was energy storage, but added that seeing his team’s locomotive move for the first time was the best part of the competition.

Announcing the results, Bridget Eickhoff, IMechE Railway Division Chairman, said she was extremely impressed by the efforts of all of the teams, who had produced very different and innovative designs from the same specification.

As far as she was aware, the competition had seen the first hydrogen propelled locomotive with Birmingham University’s entry and she wondered how long it would be before innovations in this and future such competitions would appear in the real railway.