Dr Paul Allen
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After graduating in 1996 with an honours degree in mechanical engineering, Paul joined a consultancy group at Manchester Metropolitan University developing automotive safety systems. In 1998 he embarked upon a PhD programme studying contact mechanics and wheel-rail interaction on a scaled railway roller rig. During this time he became a founder member of the Rail Technology Unit (RTU), a group which specialised in railway vehicle dynamics and wheel rail interaction.
The RTU became a successful and well respected research and enterprise group and in 2012 transferred to the University of Huddersfield to form the new Institute of Railway Research (IRR). Paul joined UoH as the assistant director of the IRR and since joining has helped the group more than triple in size from 9 to 30 staff.
Paul was a member of the bid team which won £4M of Regional Growth Funding to set up the IRR’s new Centre for Innovation in Rail (CIR). The CIR has been launched to support the industry and its supply chain in bringing new technologies to the rail sector. The centre’s goal is to reach out to SMEs and other solutions providers to offer specialist engineering services, funding advice and commercialisation opportunities to help realise the full potential of new concepts or product within the rail sector.
Paul has led the specification, contractual negotiation and procurement of the IRR’s new £2.1M advanced railway rolling contact rig and its £2.4M laboratory/office expansion programmes.
Paul’s enterprise and research activities have led to the initiation of strong university relationships and funding streams with key railway sector partners including HS2, Crossrail, Unipart Rail Ltd and Alstom.
He has achieved wide press exposure for the University with articles/quotes published in the Mail on Sunday, Modern Railways Magazine, Railway Gazette International, The Engineer and the Huddersfield Examiner, together with numerous online sites.
He instigated and led the delivery of an annual residential course for 50 school children on behalf of the Smallpeice Trust and has recently been invited to join the Scientific Committee for the IMechE Railway Division’s annual Stephenson Conference and also deliver the Institute’s annual prestige evening guest lecture.
Research and Scholarship
Dr Allen’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 behaviour of railways and track. He has been working in this area for over 14 years and has built up a substantial international reputation for the work carried out by himself and the team, 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. Dr Allen and the team have been involved in many 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.
Paul was PI for the FP7 D-Rail project, which looked to minimise the occurrence and impact of freight train derailments and leads the IRR’s rolling stock interests under the new European funding call for railways; Shift2Rail (Horizon 2020 initiative)
He is currently diversifying his interests to include remote condition monitoring, data analytics, train braking system optimisation and railway vehicle pantograph interaction dynamics.
Publications and Other Research Outputs
Colantuono, T., Grossoni, I., Allen, P., Molyneux-Berry, P. and Borczyk, P. (2016) ‘The optimal strength of shear pins: Requirements in point run-throughs’ Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit . ISSN 0954-4097
Crosbee, D., Allen, P. and Carroll, R. (2016) ‘Design and performance analysis of a Tram-Train profile for dual operation running’ Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit . ISSN 0954-4097
Allen, P. and Iwnicki, S. (2011) ‘The critical speed of a railway vehicle on a roller rig’ Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit , 215 (2), pp. 55-64. ISSN 0954-4097
Perez, J., Allen, P. and Hartley, D. (2008) ‘Making Maximum Use of Restrictive Loading Gauge as Applied to Friction Damped Freight Vehicles’ Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit , 222 (3), pp. 255-265. ISSN 0954-4097
Hsu, S., Huang, Z., Iwnicki, S., Thompson, D., Jones, C., Xie, G. and Allen, P. (2007) ‘Experimental and theoretical investigation of railway wheel squeal’ Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit , 221 (1), pp. 59-73. ISSN 0954-4097
Sheng, X., Thompson, D., Jones, C., Xie, G., Iwnicki, S., Allen, P. and Hsu, S. (2006) ‘Simulations of roughness initiation and growth on railway rails’ Journal of Sound and Vibration , 293 (3-5), pp. 819-829. ISSN 0022460X
Thompson, D., Jones, C., Xie, G., Iwnicki, S., Allen, P. and Hsu, S. (2006) ‘Simulation of roughness initiation and growth on railway rails’ Journal of Sound and Vibration , 293 (3-6), pp. 819-8209. ISSN 0022-460X
Iwnicki, S., Allen, P. and Stow, J. (2005) ‘Wheel/rail interface issues’ Journal of the the Permanent Way Institution , 123 (3), pp. 123-127. ISSN 2057-2425
Allen, P. and Iwnicki, S. (2006) ‘Scale testing’. In: A Handbook of Railway Vehicle Dynamics. Abingdon, UK: Taylor & Francis. pp. 507-526. ISBN 978-0-8493-3321-7
Allen, P. and Shackleton, P. (2016) ‘Wheels v Rails’. In: IMechE Railway Division Seminar, Annual Guest Lecture, 7th December 2016, London, UK , pp. 1-37
Crosbee, D. and Allen, P. (2015) ‘Development of a Tram-Train wheel profile for dual-operation running’. In: 1st International IMechE Stephenson Conference, 21st - 23rd April 2015, London
Allen, P., Shackleton, P. and Bevan, A. (2013) ‘Application of In-track Vertical Wheel Load Measurement Data for the Early Indication of Derailment Risk and Wheel Tread Damage’. In: 2nd RRUKA Annual Conference, 21st November 2013, London, UK
Kassa, E., Iwnicki, S., Perez, J., Allen, P. and Bezin, Y. (2009) ‘Optimisation of track stiffness, track gauge and rail inclination along a turnout using a multibody simulation tool’. In: 21st IAVSD Symposium on Dynamics of Vehicles on Roads and Tracks, August 17-21 2014, Stockholm, Sweden
Allen, P. and Bevan, A. (2008) ‘Light Rail and Tramway Wheel and Rail Profiles to Minimise Wear and Derailment Risk’. In: IMechE Railway Division Seminar, Wheel Rail - Reducing Damage, Reducing Cost, 11th June 2008, London, UK
Gualano, I., Iwnicki, S., ponnapalli, P. and Allen, P. (2006) ‘Prediction of Wheel-Rail Forces, Derailment and Passenger Comfort using Artificial Neural Networks’. In: Proceedings of the EURNEX-ZEL Conference, 30 - 31 May 2006, Zilina, Slovakia
Bevan, A. and Allen, P. (2006) ‘Application of a wear prediction method to the analysis of a new UK wheel profile’. In: Proceedings of the 7th Contact Mechanics and Wear of Rail/Wheel Systems Conference, 24th-27th September 2006, Brisbane, Australia
Kralicek, J. and Allen, P. (2005) ‘Dynamical analysis of the drive of metro bogie’. In: Computational Mechanics 21st Conference, 7-9th November 2005, Hrad, Nectiny (Czech Republic)
Xie, G., Allen, P., Iwnicki, S., Alonso, A. and Thompson, D. (2005) ‘The introduction of falling friction coefficients into curving calculations for studying curve squeal noise’. In: XIX IAVSD Symposium International Association for Vehicle System Dynamics, 29th August-2nd September 2005, Milan, Italy
Sheng, X., Thompson, D., Jones, C., Xie, G., Iwnicki, S., Allen, P. and Hsu, S. (2004) ‘Simulation of roughness growth on railway rails’. In: Proceedings of 8th International Workshop on Railway Noise, September 2004, Buxton, Derbyshire
Allen, P (2001) Error Quantification of Scaled Railway Roller Rig Doctoral thesis, Manchester Metropolitan University.
- Dr Allen is a recognised expert in railway vehicle dynamics and wheel-rail interaction. He has published widely in the field and has authored a chapter in the ‘Handbook of Railway Vehicle Dynamics’ which includes contributions from many leading experts and is the established text in this field.
- Dr Allen was invited to appear as on-screen expert in the BBC and Discovery Channel series ‘Richard Hammonds Engineering Connections’ ,‘Bullet Train’, where he conducted experiments and explained fundamental wheelset behaviour.
- He has achieved wide press exposure with my articles/quotes published in the Mail on Sunday, Modern Railways Magazine, Railway Gazette International, The Engineer and the Huddersfield Examiner.
- He advises industry through standards committees and other stakeholder groups including the RSSB Adhesion Research Group and the RIA V/T Technical Interest Group.
- A member of the Scientific Committee for the IMechE’s annual Stephenson Conference.
- Past winner of the Permanent Way Institution silver award for journal papers. Awarded the IMechE, T.A. Stewart-Dyer and F.H. Trevithick Prize for best journal paper
- Keynote paper at the IMechE’s annual prestige evening guest lecture.
- External examiner for the University of Queensland, Australia.
Research Degree Supervision
- Please contact this member of staff to discuss possible opportunities.
Dr Allen leads a number of Enterprise and Research projects. He has undertaken projects for a number of key stakeholders such as HS2, Crossrail, Network Rail, the Rail Safety and Standards Board, London Underground, the Office of Rail Regulations and many other railway industry companies.
Assistant Director of the Institute of Railway Research. Group financial planning and strategy. Staff development and recruitment. UK and European project leader. Business development, generation of commercial and research funding, lead for the RGF funded Centre for Innovation in Rail.
Teaching and Professional Activities
- MSc Mechanical Engineering, Advanced Dynamic Analysis, Final Year.