The world’s first carbon fiber rail bogie (CAFIBO) is being developed by a consortium of companies including ELG Carbon Fibre, Magma Structures, the University of Birmingham, the University of Huddersfield and Alstom. The new bogie, made entirely out of surplus and recycled carbon fiber materials, is lighter than conventional bogies and optimizes vertical and transverse stiffness.

Benefits of the CAFIBO include:

  • Reduced track wear and infrastructure maintenance costs by reducing vertical and transverse loads on the rails
  • Improved reliability and operational availability through an embedded health monitoring system
  • Reduced energy consumption

The bogie will be tested on the University of Huddersfield’s Huddersfield Adhesion & Rolling contact Laboratory Dynamics test rolling rig, also known as HAROLD. HAROLD is unique in combining a large 2m diameter rotating rail drum with the capability to test a complete bogie assembly including an accurate representation of the contact conditions existing between the wheel and rail.

Frazer Barnes, managing director of ELG Carbon Fibre commented, “Replacing steel with recycled carbon fiber to produce a rail bogie is a world first so it is a hugely exciting and rewarding project to be part of. We hope to make recycled carbon not only an attractive option for the rail industry in terms of weight reduction but also to eliminate waste and drive down cost.”

Simon Iwnicki, director of the Institute of Railway Research at the University of Huddersfield, added, “There are significant potential benefits from adopting novel materials and construction methods in railway vehicle bogies. The reduction in mass results in energy savings but can also reduce track forces and improve dynamic performance. I hope that the tests on the CAFIBO bogie being carried out here at Huddersfield will help to encourage the railway industry to accept these new techniques.”