UK Rail Research and Innovation Network


The UK Rail Research and Innovation Network is designed to create powerful collaboration between academia and industry, aiming to provide a step-change in innovation within the sector to accelerate new technology and products from valuable research.

The University’s Centre for Innovation in Rail needed to invest over £4m in testing facilities, and so as an existing client, they approached I&G to remodel an existing building to create a home for multi-million-pound bespoke testing rigs.

The Solution:

Before the complex works to the existing building could begin, demolition and strip out of the building had to be done.

Much of the scheme was to form areas and services for specialist rail testing rigs which included large complex bases installed under existing slabs to provide the robust home for the bespoke testing rigs. The works also provided ancillary control rooms, plant rooms, teaching, and circulation spaces.

This meant the space inside had to be remodelled in order to create room for the bespoke testing facilities, taking the existing open plan offices and stripping them out to create a brand new space. In-depth and concrete bases had to be included for the equipment to be bolted down. Major excavation and concrete piling had to be undertaken within the building, including groundworks which would normally take place externally, having to be done inside the building.

The Challenges:

• Major groundwork within an existing building which present logistical challenges. Major excavation, concreting and piling works were all undertaken inside, meaning there were major internal health and safety concerns to overcome,

• All machinery had to be fit with specialist filters to exhausts to help with air movement to keep the air clean within the building,

• Safe vehicle movement and segregation of the building,

• A large temporary ramp had to be installed by specialists to enable vehicles to get into the building,

• Tight and complex project, which needed to be completed in time for the client’s direct contractors to start on site to install the rig,

• The Uni’s contractors were from France and Italy, entering the site under I&G supervision. This created additional pressures due to language barriers.

The Results:

The results have allowed the installation of one-of-a-king machines which are the only type in any University in the country. A bespoke area has now been created to allow researchers to perform crucial disruption testing to electric train rigs before they are installed in the real world.