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Brunel locomotive picks up most interesting design prize

Six graduate students from Brunel’s engineering Masters programmes entered the IMechE Railway Challenge 2017 with their BULR Railway Locomotive powered by compressed air.

The team, who came from a range of engineering disciplines, also won the TWI Prize for excellence and innovation in engineering for economic and environmental sustainability at the 2017 Brunel Engineers graduate showcase.

The team is made up of:

  • Ben Hoskins – Mechanical Engineering MEng
  • Kuda Kawadza – Mechanical Engineering MEng
  • Tom Brougham-Chandler – Mechanical Engineering MEng
  • Sudeep Maden – Aviation Engineering MEng
  • Andrew Wagner – Electronic and Computer Engineering MEng
  • Syafiqah Musa – Electronic and Electrical Engineering MEng
  • Dr Mark Atherton – Project supervisor
  • Stephen Riley – Project technician.

“It has quite a lot of potential for things like thermal efficiency because you can heat the air going into the cylinders to get more expansion,” explained Brunel team member Ben Hoskins, who is in his fifth year of study: “It’s also quite good for giving really high amounts of torque, so you can pull quite a lot of stuff with it without much issue.”

Despite finishing last in the competition, judges were impressed by the team’s unique compressed-air propulsion system and awarded the Judges’ Award for Most Interesting Locomotive Design.

Running from 30 June-2 July, the IMechE Railway Challenge 2017 competition is aimed at getting more young people interested in careers in railway engineering. Eleven teams competed against each other to design and manufacture the best, most innovative, efficient and quietest small-scale locomotive.