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Design and manufacture of suspension and frame for a miniature railway locomotive for entry in the IMechE Railway Challenge
The ‘IMechE Railway Challenge’ is an annual competition that tasks students with designing and building a 10 ¼” gauge miniature locomotive. The aim of this project was to improve the ride comfort of the locomotive by implementing secondary suspension. To complement this, the frame and the primary suspension were also redesigned.

With passenger ride comfort, noise reduction and wheel traction in mind, a “multi degree of freedom” train model was developed enabling a wide range of options for deisgn and validation choices. In order to create secondary suspension, bespoke coil springs and an innovative linkage mechanism were designed and manufactured. To complement the secondary suspension the primary suspension was also updated. Softer anti vibration mounts were chosen to replace the previous springs and the mounting set-up was simplified. To account for the increased locomotive height due to the addition of a secondary suspension, a new frame was designed. Structural analysis using FEA validated the design to ensure compliance with regulations. This frame will provide a permanent platform for future design iterations to build upon.

Finally, the new frame, suspension, and existing subsystems were integrated to ensure compatibility. In partnership with Siemens, the industry sponsors, the team manufactured and assembled the new locomotive. We hope to capitalise on these innovations in the national competition in July 2018.
Photograph of manufactured locomotive frame and bogies
Computational model of bogie