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The aerodynamic stability of rail vehicles under crosswinds

   Department of Civil Engineering

  ,  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Localised high wind conditions can create critical safety implications for the operation of rail vehicles, and in the worst-case scenario cause overturning. There have been a series of high-profile incidents in which various types of freight trains have overturned/lost cargo, leading to damage to the train and infrastructure, and in the worst cases a loss of life.

This research will address this issue through a novel assessment of train/cargo overturning at a highly localised scale. The aim of this project is to improve the operational resilience of UK transportation networks to localised wind conditions through providing a better understanding of vehicle aerodynamics under crosswind conditions. The project will be achieved through a range of experimental studies at model scale using the world-leading University of Birmingham aerodynamic facility.


Applicants should have a good primary degree (First- or Second-class Honours) or M.Sc. in an engineering or mathematical discipline ideally with a focus on fluid mechanics/dynamics and good numerical modelling skills.

If you would like to join a supportive and inclusive team of multidisciplinary engineers, or if you would simply like to know more, please contact us for information.


Dorigatti, F., Sterling, M., Baker, C.J. and Quinn, A.D., 2015. Crosswind effects on the stability of a model passenger train—A comparison of static and moving experiments. Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, 138, pp.36-51.

Gallagher, M., Morden, J., Baker, C., Soper, D., Quinn, A., Hemida, H. and Sterling, M., 2018. Trains in crosswinds–comparison of full-scale on-train measurements, physical model tests and CFD calculations. Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, 175, pp.428-444.

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