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Professor Peter Woodward, University of Leeds' new Chair in High Speed Rail Engineering

Leeds appoints new Chair in High Speed Rail Engineering

Professor Peter Woodward is the University of Leeds' new Chair in High Speed Rail Engineering

Posted by Hannah Vickers | February 28, 2017 | People

Professor Peter Woodward has been announced as a new Chair in High Speed Rail Engineering at the University of Leeds.

The appointment of Professor Woodward, who is currently an industry sponsored Professor of High Speed Rail at Heriot-Watt University, comes at an important time in the growth and development of the University and the City.

Leeds City Region has a pivotal role in unlocking the potential of the Northern Powerhouse.

The City is getting HS2 ready, integrating High Speed Rail in its plans for economic growth, as well as the development of the South Bank and the Leeds Station complex, and is drawing on the University's strengths in innovation and enterprise across a number of areas of science, technology and engineering.

Professor Woodward will be responsible for developing a new Institute for High Speed Rail Engineering at the University, using his expertise in geotechnical engineering to create a world leading research and innovation hub with an emphasis on train-track interaction and infrastructure systems.

This will complement other university-based research centres in the UK and respond to industry demand for undergraduate and postgraduate skills in railway engineering and other related areas.

The Institute will also work with a range of international partners including Southwest Jiaotong University in China, where Leeds has opened a new Joint School.

A distinguished researcher, Professor Woodward has played a key role in developing the polymer based track stabilisation system known as XiTRACK, which has increased track speed and reduced maintenance costs in a number of rail networks.

High Speed 2 will be of major economic benefit to the City of Leeds and the formation of this new Institute will enable new national and international collaborations, placing Leeds as a global go-to place for high speed rail research in a market that is expanding rapidly across the world - Professor Peter Woodward, University of Leeds' new Chair in High Speed Rail Engineering  

For example, this technology was used to stabilise the track bed at Clapham Junction, one of the busiest railway junctions in Europe with more than 2,500 trains passing through every day.

Announcing the appointment, Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Peter Woodward to the University of Leeds.

“Together with world leading experts in our Institute for Transport Studies, whose strengths include railway economics, policy and planning, and in Civil, Mechanical and Electronic and Electrical Engineering, he will work with industry partners and colleagues in other universities to provide unrivalled support for a modern rail network in the UK."

Professor Woodward said: “The University is one of the world’s top research-led universities and will play a major role in the development of the Northern Powerhouse.

“High Speed 2 will be of major economic benefit to the City of Leeds and the formation of this new Institute will enable new national and international collaborations, placing Leeds as a global go-to place for high speed rail research in a market that is expanding rapidly across the world.”

Professor Woodward will take up his post in the Faculty of Engineering at Leeds in June. 

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