Centre of Excellence in Testing

UKRRIN, for the first time, brings together world-class research activities within universities across the full landscape required to deliver systems-level technology innovation into the rail industry, and co-locate this with the key UK rail industry supply chain and support companies. The network will incorporate access to existing at-scale test facilities, including Network Rail’s Rail Innovation & Development Centres (RIDC Melton and RIDC Tuxford) and other key partners that will support the acceleration of adoption and transformational change in rail systems technology and new railway products and services.

Rail Innovation & Development Centres (RIDC)

Where they are?

RIDC Melton

  • Unit F, Melton Commercial Park
  • Asfordby
  • Melton Mowbray
  • Leicestershire
  • LE14 3JL

RIDC Tuxford

  • Lodge Lane Industrial Estate
  • Ashvale Road
  • Tuxford
  • Nottinghamshire
  • NG22 0NL

Transport for London – Hearne House (Acton, London)

  • 118-120
  • Gunnersbury Lane,
  • London,
  • W3 9BQ

Transport for London (Stratford, London)

  • 5 Endeavour Square,
  • International Quarter,
  • Stratford,
  • E15 2DU

Quinton Rail Technology Centre

  • Station Road
  • Long Marston
  • Stratford-On-Avon
  • Warwickshire
  • CV37 8PL

About RIDC Melton

Located at Melton Commercial Park, 3 miles from Melton Mowbray Station, RIDC Melton is a purpose-built test track for the testing of rolling stock, plant, on-track machines, infrastructure, technology and equipment. The facility has been designed to support high and low speed testing of vehicles and infrastructure using 25kV (11 miles) overhead line equipment and 3rd/4th rail DC equipment. RIDC Melton has two separate test tracks, high speed test facility between Melton Junction and Edwalton, incorporating 13 miles of track up to 125mph and a slow speed test track from Old Dalby to Stanton tunnel, having 4 miles of track capable of up to 60mph.

The centre has the capacity and capability to support new and modified technology demonstrators and trials, and now includes the recently added Telecom Innovation Lab.

Melton Facilities

  • 4 workshop roads including 1 fully pitted road
  • Lifting and jacking facility
  • 415v shore supply
  • Stabling
  • Dedicated office space
  • Ability to change infrastructure characteristics
  • TSI high speed noise compliant testing
  • Maximum over cant deficiency testing
  • Overspeed testing
  • Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) testing
  • Brake performance testing
  • Wheel Slide Protection (WSP)
  • Single/dual pantograph testing
  • Coupling compatibility testing
  • Rescue and recovery
  • Surge pressure testing in tunnels
  • Low adhesion testing

About RIDC Tuxford

Tuxford spurs off the Robin Hood line, between Thoresby Junction and High Marnham, it is 10 miles of single line test track with a 3 mile double section, with testing speed capabilities of up to 75mph. It comprises a short section of non-live 25kV type catenary and a short section of non-live 3rd/4th rail. It offers a perfectly suited facility to develop rail vehicles, technology, equipment, filming and to deliver operator training and competence assessments.

Tuxford Facilities

  • Office & mess facilities
  • Sidings
  • Stabling
  • Dummy OLE
  • Dummy 3rd & 4th rail
  • Ability to change infrastructure characteristics

Types of Testing

  • RIS-1530-PLT rail plant test site offering bespoke capabilities and this is unique in the UK. It has all of the required infrastructure parameters for compliance with railway industry standards, applicable to new and modified on-track machines on one site.
  • Tamper and Stoneblower training area
  • Thimbling training area
  • Adhesion test sites up to 1:25 W6A vehicle gauge
  • Lifting training site
  • Handbrake testing
  • Slip brake testing equipment

About Quinton Rail Technology Centre Long Marston

QRTC is the only privately owned and independent rail testing and trialling site in the UK. It has the only looped test track in the UK and is used extensively for reliability and mileage accumulation testing and trialling. It is able to operate 24/7 and its operational staff all have extensive trials and development experience in both the rail and other sectors including defence, automotive and manufacturing. It is also home to the UK’s only specifically built light rail test facility and is partner to UK Tram/Innovate UK in this respect.

Quinton Facilities

  • 20kms storage sidings
  • Storage capacity for approximately 1000 items of rolling stock
  • 4 hectares of open hard-standing based storage
  • approximately 2000sq m of covered storage, along with associated handling equipment and cranage.
  • Site Wide High-Speed Broadband
  • Over 4000sq m of workshop facilities
  • Office and Mess facility
  • Extensive Demonstration support facilities (under cover)
  • Access to project management and trials development staff

Types of Testing

  • Impact testing
  • Product approval
  • Product development
  • Publicity and PR
  • Training
  • European TSI and EN15227 scenarios 1 and 2 High speed impact testing
  • Endurance Test Track:
  • Track length 3km
  • Maximum speed 90 km/h
  • Straight section 600m
  • Curve radius 150m – 200m
  • Performance Test Track
  • Maximum Speed 110 km/h
  • Straight Section 600m OHLE
  • Track length 2 lines each of 450m
  • Overhead power supply 5 MVA
  • Connection to endurance test track

About Transport for London – London Underground

London Underground is the oldest Metro system in the world. With so many years of experience behind it, ‘the Tube’ has become a world standard for city metro systems and continues to remain at the forefront of innovation. Its parent organisation, TfL, is vertically integrated, which means that we have the full-stack experience of operating, maintaining and renewing all our asset types. Modern technologies are constantly being researched and adapted to the needs of the network to increase reliability and efficiency, whilst keeping costs at a minimum. This Test Centre provides an excellent opportunity to accelerate the development of the rail industry within one of the world’s most challenging yet iconic rail environments.

TfL Facilities

  • Systems Performance Simulation Configurable Digital Modelling
  • Virtual Reality Modelling Instrumentation
  • Testing facilities Monitoring and Surveying
  • Mechanical Fabrication Rapid prototyping
  • Railway Engineering Simulator (RES) system is an in-house developed platform which performs multitrain simulation of rail systems.

The Acton Town facilities offer fabrication processes such as:

  • CNC milling
  • CNC turning
  • Waterjet cutting
  • Sheet metal works (including bending, cutting, rolling and welding)
  • 3D printing

Types of Testing

  • Model signalling and train movement
  • Gradient and adhesion profiles
  • Train traction and braking
  • Effect of using multiple signalling systems simultaneously
  • ATO and Manual control
  • Automatic Route Setting and interlocking
  • Multipurpose accelerometer and strain gauge testing
  • Shock and vibration test tables
  • Climate test chamber
  • Electromagnetic compatibility chamber
  • Noise and vibration surveying
  • Digital point cloud and Geothermal surveying
  • bespoke rigs are manufactured for designs requiring unique test parameters. We can tell you exactly how your product will react to real railway environments.

Why they exist?

Network Rail owns and operates RIDC Melton and RIDC Tuxford; the RIDC team are part of the Safety, Technical and Engineering directorate within Network Rail. These two strategically important test facilities provide a safe operational environment for the testing, trialling and validation of new and modified rolling stock, plant, on-track machines, infrastructure, equipment and technology.

The RIDC team prides itself on working collaboratively with all current and prospective customers to deliver their testing requirements. The RIDCs are truly representative of the operational railway and include many characteristics found on the national network.

How to access them?

Get in touch with RIDC to find out how to access these facilities



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