University of Huddersfield to build £1m bogie test rig with hybrid drivetrain testing capabilities

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The University of Huddersfield’s Institute of Railway Research (IRR) in the UK has been awarded £1m (US$1.2m) of capital funding from the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) to build a full-scale bogie test rig, which will have the capability to test novel hybrid drivetrains.

The rig, HAROLD 2.0, will be built upon IRR’s existing HAROLD facility, which opened in 2016. Commissioned as the UK’s only full-size rig of its kind, it features a motored rolling road that can drive a wheelset of a standard gauge bogie at speeds up to 200 kph, exerting real-world forces via its hydraulic actuation system.

In partnership with engineering consultants Ricardo which will deliver the upgrade, funding will provide significant enhancements to the facility’s functionality, including the integration of a real-time train braking performance model and a fully functional AC power bogie, comprising both friction and regenerative brake systems and complete traction package.

Utilizing the capability of hardware-in-the-loop (HiL) test methods, on-train systems including next-generation wheel-slide protection (WSP), dynamic brake blending control, and traction components can be analyzed. The test environment can re-create whole-route traction and braking duty-cycles at speeds of up to 200 kph, under a range of wheel-rail adhesion conditions, thereby providing an invaluable proving stage prior to on-track trials.

With provision for battery banks and fully configurable real-time models, the test rig will also provide the capability to prove novel hybrid drivetrains and energy storage systems, enabling hardware and software solutions to be trialed in a controlled but realistic environment.

HAROLD 2.0 is expected to be ready for operation by summer 2022, where it will join other recent UKRRIN funded investments, such as the PANTHER high-speed pantograph test rig and the THOMoS high-fidelity passenger comfort/motion simulator.

Professor Paul Allen, assistant director of the Institute of Railway Research, said, “In helping realize predictable and optimized traction and braking performance, the HAROLD 2.0 test rig will contribute to delivering a safer, more reliable and higher capacity railway. Through testing and development of hybrid vehicle concepts, will support the railway industry in overcoming its wider decarbonization and electrification challenges.”