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Project to modernise rail electrification components

Network Rail electrification work

A Huddersfield firm has teamed up with its local university in a project to update components used for overhead parts in rail electrification schemes.

Associated Utility Supplies and the University of Huddersfield have joined together to use computer aided design (CAD) to modernise the components that are used in the infrastructure to deliver power to electric trains. Better use of CAD will enable fewer prototypes and a more streamlined designed, leading to lighter components that are cheaper to produce.

Currently, many of the components that are used in the infrastructure that delivers power to electric trains are made from designs that were developed decades ago.

“The company saw that there was a gap in their capability,” said lecturer Dr Simon Barrans, who is Reader within the University of Huddersfield’s Turbocharger Research Institute. “A lot of parts used for overhead lines were designed back in the 1960s and have never been developed since. They are made of cast iron, are very heavy and the manufacturing process was not very economic. AUS have been approached by a few customers, including Network Rail, with a view to proposing alternative components that are easier to install.”

Financial backing has been given from Innovate UK.

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