Track to the Future is a prestigious £5.2M EPSRC Programme Grant bringing together academics from the Universities of Southampton, Birmingham, Huddersfield and Nottingham and key industry players.

Railway track is being more intensively used as the frequency and speed of trains continue to increase. The time available for maintenance is decreasing and pressure is growing to reduce cost and environmental impacts, including noise and vibration. At the same time climate change is imposing new pressures on old infrastructure, sometimes with major impacts on exposed coastal railways and vulnerable earthworks.

We are addressing these challenges with state-of-the-art experimental and analytical techniques, and the integration of advanced sub-system models in the areas of geomechanics, track systems, vehicle dynamics, noise and vibration. Our research will lead to track that will cost less and last longer with reduced maintenance needs, causing significantly less disruption to travellers.


Our key objectives and research challenges are

To develop low-maintenance, long-life track systems with optimised material use in terms of whole life cost and embedded carbon

To design crossings and transitions so as to optimise vehicle behaviour through them and hence maximise resistance to damage

To develop an integrated approach to designing a low-noise, low-vibration track.

Latest News

Two new research studentships advertised at Southampton

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Two new research studentships are offered with the leading research group at the University of Southampton. More details via the following links: Investigating the long-term response of geogrid-reinforced ballast under…

Track to the Future partners lead new Rail Research and Innovation Network

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The UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) is a joint industry/universities partnership to deliver the Rail Technical Strategy by accelerating the uptake of innovation. Led by T2F partners Prof…

New guide to track stiffness for practising engineers

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The cross-industry track stiffness working group has recently published A Guide to Track Stiffness, a railway engineer’s guide to identifying, understanding and repairing trackbed faults in ballasted track. Prepared and edited…