Digital Railway Engineering

The demand for rail transport is increasing, and projects such as High Speed 2 (HS2) and Crossrail mean that a new generation of railway engineers is needed to meet tomorrow’s challenges.  These engineers will need a range of skills to deal with technology from traditional heavy engineering to cutting-edge digital technologies.  This four-day residential course for Yrs 11 – 12 aims to give you an insight into the challenges and opportunities that the rail industry has to offer.

*Restrictions apply for this course – students wishing to attend cannot apply for other Smallpeice Trust courses  in this academic year*



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Working in the rail industry can be an exciting and rewarding career, and the course is intended to ‘shine a light’ on some of the opportunities that it offers. You’ll learn about many of the key challenges that the UK rail network in particular is facing, and get an insight into topics including vehicle crashworthiness, aerodynamics and advanced train control (i.e. the modern version of signalling that controls train movements around the network). It will also cover more general skills including instrumentation and computer programming, and there is ample opportunity for creative thinking, as well as the chance to develop your practical skills using hand and power tools. You will develop your team working and project management skills, and even your ability to promote yourself and your ideas by developing marketing material and manning a stand at a mini trade show.
The course will help your CV to ‘stand out from the crowd’, and hopefully get you on the fast track with a career in railway engineering.


The course includes a series of lectures to give you a feel for what university life is like, covering a range of subjects including:

• The challenges the railways face and the advanced technology they increasingly use to make them safer, cleaner, more efficient, reliable, greener and cost-effective
• How trains protect their passengers in the event of a crash, why aerodynamics are so important for high speed trains, and why train control systems are so complicated and expensive
• How you could contribute to this growing industry as an apprentice or graduate engineer

Working in a small team, you will then tackle one of two design challenges to either design, build and test a scale-model crashworthy rail vehicle, or develop a next-generation train control system. Your design will need to meet a challenging specification based on real-world requirements, and you’ll be competing with other teams to see who has come up with the best solution.


University of Birmingham


29th July - 1st August 2019
4 days, 3 nights full board residential
Start time: 10.00 am
Finish: 12.30pm

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