Portrait of Professor Simon Iwnicki Professor Simon Iwnicki

s.iwnicki@hud.ac.uk | 01484 473731




Simon Iwnicki graduated from Manchester University with a BSc in Mechanical Engineering then worked as a maintenance engineer at Chloride Motive Power in the 1980s working on battery production and electric vehicle design. He undertook a PhD in the dynamics of underground railway vehicles sponsored by the National Coal Board at South Bank University in London. He spent 21 years as Lecturer and Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University teaching and carrying out research into the interaction between railway vehicles and track where, in 1998, he set up the Rail Technology Unit which provided expert advice and solutions for the railway industry.

In 2012 he joined the University of Huddersfield as Professor of Railway Engineering and Director of the Institute of Railway Research.

Research and Scholarship

Professor Iwnicki’s main research activities are in the field of wheel-rail contact and computer modelling of railway vehicle suspensions, a small and highly specialised area which has a major influence on the design of railway vehicles and track. He has been working in this area for over 25 years and has built up a substantial international reputation for this work, providing not only valuable practical solutions to specific problems in the industry, but making significant contributions to the understanding of some of the fundamental mechanisms of the wheel-rail interaction on which the safe and economical operation of railways depends.

At the University of Huddersfield Professor Iwnicki leads the Institute of Railway Research (IRR) which has an international reputation for excellent research and support to industry in the core area of railway vehicle dynamics modelling, wheel-rail interface engineering and vehicle-track interaction.

The IRR was set up in 2012 with the transfer of the Rail Technology Unit from Manchester Metropolitan University and plays an important part to the vibrant and rapidly growing research community within the University of Huddersfield which aims to become an internationally recognised research-led institution, solving the problems and answering the questions posed by industry, science and society as a whole.

The IRR is involved in EPSRC and EU funded projects including current projects: DYNOTRAIN which aims to increase the use of computer simulation in the introduction of new railway vehicles and SUSTRAIL and SPECTRUM which aim to increase modal shift of freight from road to rail.


I was elected a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) in 2009 and I have been a member of the EPSRC Peer Review College since 2005. I was elected to the Board of Trustees of the International Association of Vehicle System Dynamics (IAVSD) in 2005 and appointed treasurer in 2010.

From 2008 to 2010 I was the Chair of the Northwestern Centre and in 2014 the National Chair of the Railway Division of the IMechE.

In 2005 I succeeded Professor Roderick Smith as the Editor in Chief of ‘Part F’ of the proceedings of the IMechE – the ‘Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit’. This is the most prestigious UK journal in this area and I and am supported by an international editorial board. I am also Co-editor, responsible for all railway papers, of the Journal Vehicle System Dynamics.

From 2010 to 2014 I was the elected academic co-chair of the Rail Research UK Association (RRUKA) which is a partnership between the British Rail Industry and UK Universities carrying out railway research. RRUKA has 40 member Universities and acts a link between industry and academia. I am a member of the Scientific Council of ‘Shift2Rail’ which is a Joint Undertaking between the European Commission and the Railway industry.

Research Degree Supervision

Current opportunities

Postgraduate research opportunities with Professor Simon Iwnicki

Enterprise Activities

The Institute of Railway Research supports the railway industry through direct enterprise activities and has significant experience of problem solving for mainline freight and passenger sectors as well as light rail vehicle and track engineering and wheel-rail interface management.

Projects carried out include assessment of the impact of changes in vehicle fleets on maintenance costs, analysis of vehicle derailments and prediction of reductions in damage due to adoption of alternative wheel and rail profiles.

Examples of major industry clients in the UK include RSSB, Network Rail, and many vehicle manufacturers and light rail operators.

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Director of the Institute of Railway Research
  • Academic Co-Chair of RRUKA (Rail Research UK Association)
  • Deputy Chairman of the Railway Division of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  • Deputy Coordinator of the General Engineering Unit of Assessment at the University of Huddersfield within the Research Excellence Framework.

Teaching and Professional Activities

Professor Iwnicki’s main teaching activities are in dynamics and applied mechanics at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level.

He co-organised an annual Course in Vehicle Track Interaction for the Railway Industry at Emmanuel College Cambridge from 1997 to 2005 and is currently running a biennial summer school in Railway Rolling Stock in Krakow.

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