Newcastle University (NewRail)


NewRail aims to deliver university research, information and training to meet the complex technological and managerial challenges of the rail and transport industry, regulators, operators and customers. We are based in the School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering at Newcastle University in the UK.
The NewRail team works at both national and international levels, establishing strong research and consultancy links with railway operators and manufacturers in the UK, throughout Europe and internationally. The staff at NewRail have accumulated considerable experience in the coordination of European projects, particularly in DG Research.

Test facilities

NewRail has a regional office at Barrow Hill near Chesterfield in the Midlands of the UK. A working railway centre, Barrow Hill provides NewRail with excellent facilities for full-scale rail vehicle and track investigations.
The facilities at Barrow Hill include:

  • 14 acre site just outside Chesterfield, UK
  • Connected to mainline railway network
  • Undercover vehicle accommodation, including maintenance pits and ancillary services
  • Over 1 mile of running track
  • A wide range of vehicles and carriages
  • Engineering workshops
  • High performance computer modelling facilities
  • Dedicated NewRail office including meeting facilities

Overview of our current and future research priorities

The Rail Freight and Logistics Group is coordinating the following two EU funded projects:

  • Smartfusion
  • RFAL is involved as a partner in the following EU funded projects:
  • D-RAIL
  • RiFLE

The Rail Vehicles Group specialises in the design, development, analysis and testing of novel materials, processes and structures for transport applications.
Much of our work is focused on developing lightweight, crashworthy structures to meet the rail industry’s demands for increased capacity, safety, and energy efficiency/environmental sustainability.
Core competences of the Group include:

  • The design and development of large composite material structures for transport applications
  • Crashworthy composite structures – cabs, bodyshells and interior components
  • Modelling and analysis of vehicle structures and components
  • Joining technologies for vehicle construction
  • Materials selection, evaluation, and testing
  • Fire safe rail vehicles
  • Technology transfer between the rail industry and other transport sectors
  • Building and managing funded research consortia

The Rail Systems Group specialises in research from a railway systems engineering point of view.
Key areas of research include the following:

  • Energy
  • Capacity
  • Mass reduction
  • Passenger needs
  • Condition monitoring
  • Interoperability of European railways

Current projects include:

  • CleanER-D aims to develop, improve and integrate emissions reduction technologies for diesel locomotives and rail vehicles.
  • TransNEW aims to evaluate research capability in order to support the involvement of New Member States in a number of topics and potentially exploit the synergies between air transport and surface transport modes.

The Rail Infrastructure Group has been involved in leading EU and worldwide railway research for over ten years.

Projects include:

  • Comparison of the Hatfield and alternative UK Rails
  • Modelling the interaction of railway contact fatigue and wear
  • RRUK - Rail Research UK

Rail Infrastructure Software:

The Rail Infrastructure Group has developed computer programs Dynarat and DynaCrack which are used for simulating wear and crack initiation:
Testing Facilities:
A section of track is available at our full-scale test site at Barrow Hill in the UK for instrumenting and experimenting. Additional testing facilities are available for wear, fatigue and chemical and bio-chemical analysis of low adhesion leaf films.
The Rail Strategy Group and specialises in research from a strategic perspective.

  • Key areas of research include the following:
  • Specific key areas of European transport research including:
  • Establishing current state-of-the-art in transport research in the European Union:
  • Assessing capabilities and capacities in transport research:
  • Developing cross-border collaborations

Projects include:

  • HERMES, an EC funded project to gather transport research databases worldwide and create a portal through which these databases can be accessed;
  • ERRAC Roadmap which will draft a strategic plan to turn the ERRAC 2020 Vision into reality.

Recent projects include:

  • TransNEW evaluated the transport research capability and capacity in rail, road, waterborne and aeronautics of the EU New Member States, This established a benchmark of the current research activity in each of these countries and created a database of contacts to enable researchers to network with one another. In addition researchers in these countries were trained to form consortia, write proposals and encouraged to participate in European projects.
  • TransSLO

Forthcoming events

  • INNOTRANS 2012
  • RIA Conference 2013
  • eFreight 2013
  • British Science Festival 2013