Sheffield students to compete to build best locomotive

A team of twenty students from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University of Sheffield is gearing up to compete in the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Railway Challenge, taking place in July at the Stapleford Miniature Railway near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.

Students competing in the railway challengeThe competition will see eight teams compete against each other to design and manufacture the best, most innovative, efficient and quietest small-scale locomotive. The teams competing this year are:

• University of Birmingham
• Bombardier/Derby University
• University of Huddersfield (winners in 2013)
• SNC Lavalin (winners in 2012)
• University of Sheffield
• University of Southampton
• TfL (winners in 2014 and 2015)
• WMG, University of Warwick

David Roebuck, a 3rd year student from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, said about the team’s involvement in the competition:

“Taking part in the Railway Challenge is a fantastic opportunity to gain hands-on experience of what’s needed to make a locomotive from start to finish. The competition is run along the lines of a real-life tendering process and we have to prepare a business case, finance, design, and build our locomotive from scratch.

“The experience will be invaluable to the whole team in our future careers and we are looking forward to putting all our hard work to the test at the competition in July.”

The competition comprises of a series of track based and presentation challenges, including a design report and (new for 2016) an ‘Innovation Challenge’ which involves the production of an academic paper on the innovations in the loco. The track based challenges include: energy storage, traction, ride comfort, noise, maintainability and energy efficiency.

The locomotives that will be competing are designed to work on 10¼” gauge railway line and must be powerful enough to transport a 600kg load – including one of the Railway Challenge judges.

The competition will take place on 2–3 July 2016 at Stapleford Miniature Railway in Leicestershire. The trophy will be presented to the winning team on Sunday 3 July by Jon Hilton who will by then be President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

For more information about the Railway Challenge:
For more information about the University of Sheffield’s Railway Challenge team: