The Railway Challenge is a competition that was established by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) to promote excellence in rail engineering and address an industry skills shortage, by encouraging young engineers to pursue a future career in the field. Teams are tasked with creating a miniature railway locomotive; overseeing the design, manufacture, operation and commercial introduction of the product.

Competition Outline

The IMechE Railway Challenge brings together teams of university students, as well as apprentices and graduates working in industry across the UK to test their business knowledge, design ability and technical skills in a live test environment.

For the purpose of the Railway Challenge competition, teams will assume that they work for a design consultancy producing a locomotive for a large corporation. They will design and manufacture the prototype of this locomotive. They are required to design and manufacture a miniature (10¼” gauge) railway locomotive in accordance with a set of rules and a technical specification. At the end of each academic year, a competition weekend takes place where the teams compete against each other to test their locomotive designs and determine a winner. *

* All information sourced from official Railway Challenge site see here

Our Competition History

The University of Huddersfield has been one of the major protagonists in the IMechE Railway Challenge since its inception. Our team consists of a bright, dedicated group of Mechanical, Electrical and Control Engineers who strive to push the boundaries of railway engineering.

The first year that HudRail entered the competition (2013), we managed to walk away with 1st place!


2017 - 3rd

2016 - 5th

2015 - 4th

2014 - 4th

2013 - 1st

Competition Challenges

Track based challenges

Challenge Name
Max Points Value
150 Assesses how reliable the locomotive is at meeting scheduled times and not incurring undue delays or requring external assistance
Energy Storage
300 Test how effectively the locomotive recovers and reuses energy
150 Assesses the locomotive's ability to pull a load from a standing start
Ride Comfort
150 Evaluates how effectively the suspension isolates the locomotive body from track irregularities and sources of vibration
Noise 150 Tests the acoustics of the locomotive by measuring the noise it emits
Maintainability 150 Tests how easily major components can be removed and replaced

Presentation challenges

Challenge Name
Max Points Value
150 Report submission, outlining project management, design engineering, costing, quality etc
Business case
150 Involves making a sales pitch to representatives from a large corporation i.e. 'the Railway Challenge judges;
Innovation 150 A written submission which describes the novel and innovative aspects of the locmotive design