On Thursday 15th March, ten Ambassadors from the Young Railway Professionals took part in iRail 2012 at the historic Derby Roundhouse, one of the earliest centres of Railway Engineering and now converted to a state-of-the-art college campus.
iRail is an event which was founded by the Derby Railway Engineering Society, with the aim of attracting young people to a career in the rail industry.
During the day, teams of five from twelve secondary schools in the Derby area, as well as students from Derby College, took part in one of two ‘railway challenges’.
Challenge A was to design a freight vehicle for carrying a variety of goods. Challenge B was to find a solution for crossing a railway line.
The students also enjoyed tours of Bombardier’s Litchurch Lane production facility and Network Rail’s East Midlands Control Centre.
Participating in the challenges, the students were exposed to a variety of problems and constraints.
With the help of the YRP mentors, and from other railway professionals stationed at display stands around the ‘Carriage Shop’ theatre, the students were tasked to come up with solutions, which were presented in front of a panel of three judges who asked them questions in the style of ‘Dragons Den’.
The overall winner of the day was Woodlands School with their design for crossing the railway line.
Professor Andrew McNaughton, Chief Engineer of HS2 Ltd, was on hand to announce the winning team and to present the trophy to the winners.
David Horton, organiser of the YRP mentors for the day, said:
“The teams were able to grasp the problems presented, pick up the basic railway knowledge and weigh up the pros and cons of various possible solutions – all in a short space of time.
“It is exactly this kind of proactive attitude and teamwork that we need to look for in our budding young Railway Engineers. I hope many of them will consider a career in the Rail Industry!”