Students on Fast Track for Railway Careers with The Smallpeice Trust

From 16th to 19st July, 50 teenagers from across the UK had the unique opportunity to learn about how railway technologies come together to create state-of-the-art, safe and efficient transport systems. Sponsored by the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE) and The Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust (The LRET), this course forms part of a major initiative to encourage young people to consider railway engineering as a possible career in the future.

Leamington Spa, United Kingdom, July 27, 2012 --( Held by the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education at the University of Birmingham, the students explored a range of subjects including aerodynamics, crashworthiness, signaling, train control and wheel rail adhesion. Working in small teams, half the students designed and built 1:30 scale crash proof. The second group came up with an automatic train control system for metro type operation, capable of maintaining a safe distance between trains and stopping sufficiently accurately to operate platform screen doors.

Valuable input was provided from Dominique Louis from the UK Rail Accident Investigation Branch who ensured students had a real-world appreciation of why such technology is necessary, while the University of Birmingham delivered a series of masterclasses covering topics such as railway aerodynamics, crashworthiness and the ‘Quest for Speed’. Jon Bentley of The Gadget Show fame surprised the students on the last day by helping to adjudicate the final testing.

As well as working on the design, build and test elements of the projects, the students developed life skills such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, time management, finance and presentation.

Michael Franklin, Director of The LRET commented: “The LRET is delighted to support Smallpeice’s railway engineering initiatives for a second year. Through these hands-on activities, young people gain a real understanding of the challenges facing the industry and how engineers can develop practical solutions. With new networks being planned in the UK, there are vast and exciting opportunities in railway engineering. We want to encourage and inspire young people to take up careers in this fast moving sector.”

Gil Howarth, Chief Executive of NSARE added: “If the Railway Engineering industry is to attract the quantity and quality of young people required for the future, it is imperative that we raise awareness of the opportunities within Railway Engineering. As passenger and freight usage of the UK railways continues to increase the systems required to run them safely and efficiently are growing more and more complex but are often unseen by the public. This course gives a great insight into some of the engineering challenges addressed by those working in the industry every day. We are delighted to be working with The Smallpeice Trust and The LRET and to raise awareness of the exciting career opportunities Railway Engineering can offer young people.”

Dr Andrew Cave, Chief Executive of The Smallpeice Trust added, “Thanks to continuing support from NSARE and The LRET, this course has proved a great success for the second year running. The University of Birmingham devised two exceptionally challenging design and make projects for the students to work on which saw all teams working hard to produce sound results.”

The Railway Systems Engineering course is run by independent charity, The Smallpeice Trust, and is part of an on-going programme of residential courses to help young people aged 13 to 18 learn and develop skills in engineering, design, technology and manufacturing.

The new course timetable for 2013 will be launched in the autumn school term. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. To find out more, visit, or telephone The Smallpeice Trust on 01926 333200.

Notes to editors:

About The Smallpeice Trust:

The Smallpeice Trust is an independent charitable trust which promotes engineering as a career, primarily through the provision of residential courses for young people aged 13 to 18.

The Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust (The LRET):

The LRET, an independent charity established in 2004, funds education, training and research programmes in transportation, science, engineering, technology and the safety of life, worldwide for the benefit of all. The LRET has supported The Smallpeice Trust for many years funding two Maritime Technology residential courses each year, which continue to attract large numbers of young people.

The National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE):

NSARE has been established by industry employers to meet the growing demand, both in terms of quality and quantity, for railway engineering skills across the UK.

Its vision is that by 2015 the engineering workforce will have the necessary skills to support the maintenance, development and expansion of a first-class, cost-effective 21st Century railway with every member of the engineering workforce in the railway industry having demonstrable competencies. For more information, visit or call Sue Gill, Head of Business development on 07833 714601.

The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education:

The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education brings together a multidisciplinary team from across the University to tackle fundamental railway engineering problems. The team actively engage with industry, other universities through Rail Research UK-A, and international partners.
The Smallpeice Trust:
Gemma Murphy
+44(0)1926 333214
or contact:
Claire Fisher
Tel: 01926 333203
Fax: 01926 333202