World’s first carbon fibre rail bogie unveiled on campus

The carbon fibre bogie was on display at the Railway Industry Association’s ‘Unlocking Innovation’ conference held at the University

THE world’s first carbon fibre bogie (CAFIBO), developed by British company ELG Carbon Fibre in collaboration with the University of Huddersfield’s Institute for Railway Research, was unveiled this week.

The bogie, which is made entirely out of surplus and recycled carbon fibre materials, was presented to over 100 industry delegates at the Railway Industry Association’s (RIA) Unlocking Innovation event, held at the University of Huddersfield.

The new CAFIBO bogie is lighter than conventional bogies and optimises vertical and transverse stiffness.  The bogie is designed to…

  • Reduce track wear and infrastructure maintenance costs by reducing vertical and transverse loads on the rails,
  • Improve reliability and operational availability through an embedded health monitoring system,
  • Reduce energy consumption and hence global warming footprint.

The new bogie is being developed as part of a two-year programme delivered by a consortium of companies comprising ELG Carbon Fibre, Magma Structures, the University of Birmingham and the University of Huddersfield with additional support from Alstom.

Over the next few months, the bogie will be tested on the University of Huddersfield’s state-of-the-art test rolling rig, the Huddersfield Adhesion and Rolling Contact Laboratory Dynamics rig, or ‘HAROLD’ for short.

Frazer Barnes, Managing Director of ELG Carbon Fibre commented: “Replacing steel with recycled carbon fibre to produce a rail bogie is a world first, so it is a hugely exciting and rewarding project to be part of.  We hope to make recycled carbon not only an attractive option for the rail industry in terms of weight reduction, but also to eliminate waste and drive down cost.”

The University’s Professor Simon Iwnicki, who is Director of the Institute of Railway Research, said: “There are significant potential benefits from adopting novel materials and construction methods in railway vehicle bogies.  The reduction in mass results in energy savings, but it can also reduce track forces and improve dynamic performance.

“I hope that the tests on the CAFIBO bogie, to be carried out here at Huddersfield, will help to encourage the railway industry to accept these new techniques,” added Professor Iwnicki.

Image credit: IRR, University of Huddersfield