The university is making a significant investment in the UK’s first dedicated centre for high speed rail technologies and system integration
The university is making a significant investment in the UK’s first dedicated centre for high speed rail technologies and system integration.
Nick Hill

University of Leeds invests £10m in high speed rail technology centre

The University of Leeds is investing £10m to develop a dedicated centre for high speed rail technologies and system integration.

The new centre will specialise in high speed rail planning, design, construction and manufacturing.

The Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration will include a high speed railway infrastructure and vehicle system test facility.

From foundations and track, traction systems, to braking, energy harvesting, sensor technology and digital systems, the centre aims to optimise the efficiency, performance and safety of high speed rail.

In addition, the centre will also help address the skills gap to support rail industry growth, with undergraduate and postgraduate courses to support industry demands.

Leading the Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration is Professor Peter Woodward, the University’s new chair in High Speed Rail Engineering.

Professor Woodward said: “We will be drawing on the full range of Leeds’ significant research strengths to offer unrivalled support for a high speed rail network in the UK.

“A system integration approach is possible because of the highly multi-disciplinary teams at Leeds and, combined with state-of-the-art test facilities, this investment will place Leeds on the world-stage as the go-to place for high speed rail research.”

Leeds is located to lead the development of high speed rail and system integration, being at the centre of HS2’s Yorkshire Hub. The area is targeted for economic growth from the HS2 construction project, with the HS2 rolling stock depot also located to the east of Leeds.

Iain Roche, head of innovation for HS2, said: “HS2 is delighted that the University of Leeds is launching the UK’s first Institute dedicated to high speed rail and system integration.

“The creation of world-leading facilities so close to the HS2 depot to the east of Leeds will accelerate the vehicle and systems integration testing process, and advance the UK’s vision of creating a high speed railway that will support regional growth, create jobs and rebalance the economy.”

Professor Lisa Roberts, deputy vice-chancellor: research and innovation at the University of Leeds, added: “This is a timely investment in this Institute, supporting not only the development and construction of the UK’s high speed network, but also positioning the region and the UK as pioneers in modern high speed rail technologies.

“We now have a genuine opportunity to forge ahead and be a global leader in a high speed rail market that is expanding rapidly across the world.”

The UK is investing £12bn per year in rail infrastructure, with new UK projects in the pipeline worth a total of £88bn. High speed rail investment is predicted to be over £380bn by 2022.

The Leeds City Region is integrating high speed rail in its plans for economic growth, as well as the development of the South Bank and the Leeds Station complex.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, concluded: “The new Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration at the University of Leeds is a really exciting development which will establish Leeds as a centre of excellence for high-speed rail on a world level.

“It will not only enhance our strengths in civil engineering, rail manufacturing, transport studies and infrastructure development services but will also drive growth through inward investment, aiding regeneration and job creation through the supply chain.”

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