SMARTSET Final Conference

Gothenburg 08 March 2016

Starting from SMARTSET achievements and with input from other experts, experiences on efficient Urban Freight Transport were presented and discussed at the conference that brought together policy makers, knowledge carriers and cities, from across Europe, implementing sustainable city logistics measures or planning to do so. Apart from presentations regarding EU-perspective on the future, and other insights regarding access regulations, incentives, and favourable framework conditions for sustainable Urban Freight Transport and business models, the conference provided a lot of space for networking and the exchange of knowledge and ideas.

All presentations are now available on the SMARTSET website for download.

SmartRail Asia 2015

The SmartRail Congress and Expo took place in November, in Bangkok, Thailand. Prof John Roberts, Director Asian Region, and Dr Wichai Siwakosit, Senior Consultant for Asian Region, manned the NewRail stand at the BITEC exhibition complex.
The exhibition had over 3000 visitors and John reported much interest in the NewRail stand, as well as our display in the UKTI Thailand pavilion.
John also launched the KURail joint concept of the ASEAN International Rail Academy, where his presentation was well attended.

The 12th International Forum of Automotive Traffic Safety (INFATS 2015)

This conference in Xiamen, China, December 4-5 2015, was hosted by Hunan University and jointly organised by Xiamen University and Fujian motor Co. Ltd. Its objective was to exchange and disseminate scientific and technical information about vehicle traffic safety, including 3 presentations from NewRail. Director Prof Mark Robinson gave a Keynote speech on ‘Public Transportation Security’; Conor O’Neill spoke about the ‘Role of Risk Assessment in Reducing Risk to Railway Assets from Terrorist Attacks’ and Dr Emmanuel Matsika presented his paper on ‘Railway Vehicle Interior Crash Safety Standard – the Missing Link?’

1st International Seminar of Rolling Stock Composite Materials

1st International Seminar of Rolling Stock Composite Materials“Lighter, Greener and Safer” is fast becoming a global trend in the development of rail transportation equipment and light-weight advanced composite materials can offer advantages in all three areas.
The China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) organised this inaugural conference, in Zhuzhou, China, 2-4 December, where Conor O’Neill presented NewRail’s Composite Cab (link?) and Prof Mark Robinson gave a presentation on ‘Composites and Crashworthiness’.

Past Conferences

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2014 Events



Athens, 3-4 July 2014

The SAFEJOINT project is developing joining techniques for materials with fundamentally different physical properties e.g. metal to composite.

A workshop was held in Athens, Greece, on the 3rd and 4th July 2014 which disseminated the research carried out in the SAFEJOINT project so far and informed and engaged industry of the latest developments in dissimilar materials joining research in the EU.

The 2-day workshop offered presentations from the SAFEJOINT project as well as projects Ybridio and PMJoin, which form a cluster of EC supported projects on the topic of dissimilar materials joining.

During the workshop open discussions will be encouraged between industry and the research community in dedicated sessions to explore the future needs of industry in lightweight design and the direction of research in the area of dissimilar materials joining.

More information from the SAFEJOINT website at

RailNewcastle RailNewcastle logo

Newcastle, 23 June-11 July 2014

The third edition of RailNewcastle - Intensive Programme in Rail and Logistics took place in Newcastle from 23rd June to 11th July 2014. About 20 professors and 50 students representing 10 European universities were involved in lectures, student-led research projects, technical visits and thematic seminars.

Smart Urban Freight Workshop


Newcastle, 12 June 2014

The Smart Urban Freight Conference 2014 took place on the 12th June in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. This unique event brought together several European Research Projects and industry stakeholders to discuss the following common themes and topics:

  • Urban Logistics & Transport Operators
  • Policy Initiatives & Business Models
  • Low Emission Vehicle Technologies
  • Urban Logistics as a commercial opportunity

The day was a combination of micro-lectures, given by invited experts, and poster presentations, and will provide an excellent dissemination and networking opportunity for anyone with an interest in Smart Urban Freight.

If you have any questions contact

International Seminar on Rail Safety

Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand, 30 May 2014

Prof. Mark Robinson, Director NewRail will join other industry experts in Thailand for this important international seminar.

More details from:

TRA 2014

TRA logo

Paris 14-17 April 2014

TRA (Transport Research Arena) is the major conference on transport in Europe, supported by the European Commission, the Conference of European Road Directors, and the three European Technology Platforms: the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC), the European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC), and the WATERBORNE TP.

The conference topics addressed the main challenges in transport and mobility of people and goods, with respect to energy, environment, safety and security and economy issues. TRA aims to explore the most advanced research works and innovations, the latest technological and industrial developments and implementations, and innovative policies, in Europe and worldwide. As a wide and open forum open to all interested parties, it is a unique occasion to promote and improve European competitiveness and efficiency in transportation.

Full brochure

Lecture at IMechE

London 28 April 2014

Prof. Mark Robinson and Dr. George Kotsikos gave a lecture entitled “Materials for modern rail vehicle construction” at IMechE on 28 April at IMechE headquarters in London. 

The requirements of new materials for rail vehicle construction are strength, durability and light weighting. The certification of these materials and structures requires predictable and repeatable energy absorption in order to satisfy crash-worthiness standards.

This lecture focused on the use of lightweight materials such as fibre‑reinforced polymer composites and aluminium. The design process will be described from conceptual design to detailed CAD modelling and examples will be provided of the dynamic and static analysis of the structures of these materials. The way forward for lightweight rail vehicle designs is the challenge of using “hybrid” structures that consist of two or more dissimilar materials, creating greater efficiency in structural design. An overview of this new approach will also be covered in detail.



NewRail 10th Anniversary ExhibitionNewRail Anniversary logo

Celebrating 10 years of NewRail at Newcastle University

Wednesday 9th April 2014
An exhibition of NewRail's work over the past ten years including models of trains, train cabs, prizewinning posters and videos.


GEN Y Rail 13 Feb 2014

Gen Y Rail is a new series of engagement and educational events for young people around the country to promote the UK railways as a career option, and to explain more about the training and qualifications and apprenticeships available.

Gen Y Rail consists of engineering and design competitions for 12 – 19 year olds, split into regional heats culminating in a national final. The events will also feature presentations from young apprentices and postgraduates already working in the rail industry to inspire and engage. The first event takes place on 13th Feb 2014 at the Hancock Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne.

For more information contact or



2013 Events

World Conference on Railway Research, Sydney, Australia

NewRail papers given at WCRR:

RailNewcastle 2nd Summer School

Intensive Programme in Rail Freight and Logistics at Newcastle University

17 June - 5 July 2013
  • Over 50 students from 9 EU countries
  • International lecturers
  • Lectures and discussions
  • Research projects
  • Technical visits
  • Workshops
  • Seminars

Cost £440 for EU and £1,100 for international students



flyer: RailNewcastle2013 poster 181212

HERMES Workshop

International Collaboration in Transportation Research

Paris 25-26 April 2013

You are invited to attend an international workshop aimed at identifying the opportunities for closer cross border collaboration in transportation research and explore with transportation counterparts the policies and measures that should be in place to enable the creation of a truly international collaborative transportation research network. More information on this flyer.


2012 Events

Validation of Curricula Workshop

28 September 2012, Rome

You are invited to participate in the Validation of Curricula Workshop that will take place on Friday 28th September 2012 at the Faculty of Engineering of the University “La Sapienza”, via Eudossiana 18, Rome, Italy.

During this workshop the RiFLE team will present the main results of the project and in particular the developed curricula and will collect suggestions for improvements and/or adjustments from the participant stakeholders.

More information on the workshop and on the RiFLE project


Rail Freight Without Borders - RETRACK Final Conference

11-12 June, Budapest, Hungary

The final conference for the RETRACK project took place on the 11th and 12th June in Budapest.  Entitled:“Rail Freight Without Borders”, it was a final summary of the RETRACK project’s findings and successes and a launch event for synergy and interaction between the new research initiatives in this field.

Topics covered: rail freight operations, policy, infrastructure, new concepts, longer remote controlled freight trains, shorter faster trains, refrigerated goods, synergistic hub planning and the opportunities to ship by rail through Europe-Asia to China by Siberia and TRACECA.


e-Freight 2012 conferenceeFreight logo

9-10 May, Delft, The Netherlands

The 2012 e-Freight conference organised by  EC funded projects all studying and creating solutions for the e-Freight areas of information exchange in planning, monitoring, invoicing, compliance and reporting for secure mulitmodal freight transport. These projects presented themselves and their results at the conference.

The event is a scientific conference combined with a business viewpoint. A scientific committee with representatives of Newcastle University, Technical University Delft, Erasmus University of Rotterdam, and City University London will assess papers on the areas of eco-visibility, security, paperless transportation and multimodal transport management. Presentations of approved papers will be combined with keynote speakers that represent government authorities and innovative businesses. On the second day of the conference, parallel sessions will deliver insight in the latest scientific research and business projects and cater for round table discussions.

More information about e-Freight:


Transport Research Arena 2012

April, Athens

NewRail fielded nine staff members at this event to highlight our expertise in rail research and innovation.  Between them they gave five papers and presented three posters.

Links to Pdfs:

Damage tolerance of rail vehicle energy absorbers

Mitigating the effects of firebomb and blast attacks on metro systems

Pan-European Rail freight transport; Evidence from a pilot demonstration result

Transport of DE-LIGHT: the design and rototyping of a lightweight crashworthy rail vehicle

Assessment of rail research capabilities of new and potential EU member states

Investigating freight corridors towards low carbon economy: evidence from the UK

Assessment of fatigue cracks in rails

Market impact evaluation - the way to judge the success of completed rail research

2011 Events

TransNEW Final Workshop TransNEW logo

7 November, 2011 Bratislava, Slovakia

We are pleased to announce that there will be a Final Workshop of the TransNEW project which will take place on Monday, 7th November 2011 in Bratislava, Slovakia. There will also be a Grand Dinner on the evening of Monday 7th November.

Join us at this important event where we will report on the transport research potential in all the New Member and Associated States and take the opportunity to collaborate with others to form consortia. The national transport research capability for 26 Countries will be defined and this information will be available to all through the use of a publicly accessible user-friendly database which will be demonstrated during the workshop.


Sixth International Conference on Composites In Fire

9-10 June 2011 The Research Beehive, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne

The Composites in Fire conferences exist to transfer understanding, technology and research results from major programmes from three continents, Europe, USA and Australia, to industry.
Since CIF-5, which was held in 2008, substantial progress has taken place in testing and modelling the problem of the fire resistance of composite structures. There have also been important changes in the methods used to achieve low heat release and improved fire resistance. Important research has also taken place to fairly compare the fire behaviour of composites with other lightweight construction materials, including aluminium.
It is the purpose of CIF-6 to report this progress and transfer the technologies and techniques developed to industry. The programme will include 'Fire Resistance and Fire Reaction in Composites: New Developments'; 'Technology Transfer: Marine and Aerospace'; 'Multi-Scale Modelling of Materials and Structures in Fire'; 'Materials Selection and Materials Comparisons'.

Who should attend?

The fire response of composites is a critical factor in virtually all engineering applications of these materials. CIF is a 2-day industry-oriented conference intended to bring together end-users, designers, materials suppliers, test houses and regulatory bodies. The meeting is also appropriate for university researchers.

Further Information

For further information please go to the conference website or contact the conference organiser CompositeLink at

e-Freight 2011

10th - 11th May at transportLogistic Messe Munchen, Germany

e-Freight 2011 Conference logo

more information at:



Tyne and Wear Metro: The Way Forward was a significant stakeholder event which provided a forum for transport delegates to review Metro activities since DeutscheBahn began operating Metro in April 2010. The conference also covered exciting plans for the future from DBTW and Nexus. In addition, Newcastle University’s NewRail provided an update on their work including light rail research in Europe. NewRail's presentation can be viewed here.


2010 Events

12th World Conference on Transport Research

Lisbon 11-15 July 2010

16th Pan-American Congress of Traffic, Transport and Logistics

Lisbon 15-18 July 2010

Details at:

FREIGHTWISE Final ConferenceFreightwise logo

15 April, 2010 - IET, London UK


Newcastle University - 12 March, 2010

Ageing and Mobility Seminar transportNewcastle logo


Launch of transportNewcastle network

See full invitation here


2009 Events

Seamless and Inclusive Theme Meeting

transportNewcastletransportNewcastle logo

Research Beehive, Newcastle University 10 December 2009


Safe and Secure Theme Meeting transportNewcastle logo

Research Beehive, Newcastle University 19 October 2009


2nd European Conference on ICT for Transport Logistics

Venice 29-30 October 2009

Details at

ITS World Congress

22-25 September Stockholm, Sweden

FREIGHTWISE hosted a stand at the 16th World Congress and Exhibition on Intelligent Transport Systems and Services. ITS logo

The stand featured demonstrations from the Business Cases at daily seminars and a chance to talk to the Business Case Leaders about the Freightwise Framework and what it has to offer the intermodal freight industry.

More information about ITS

SICOMP Conference

8-9 June 2009 Piteå, Sweden

The 20th SICOMP Conference also celebrated Swerea SICOMP’s 20th anniversary.

The conference is an excellent opportunity for the Nordic and European composite industry, academia and research to meet, attracting composite end-users, composite manufacturers, raw material suppliers and researchers.

Exotic surroundings close to the Arctic circle with the midnight sun make the conference an exciting meeting place in the far north.

Recent Developments in Railway Engineering

23 March 2009 London

This one day seminar brought together experts on the technical issues facing the railway industry, both from the companies providing the services and the universities doing underlying research. Between them, the eight invited speakers will outline new developments and practices in some of the key technologies that will carry the railway industry through the 21st century.

The meeting took place at the Institute of Physics in central London on 23rd March 2009. It was chaired by Mr John Amoore of Network Rail and the keynote speaker was Prof Rod Smith of Imperial College.

For further details of the programme, please go to the Institute of Physics web site



Second Freightwise International Conference

1-2 December 2008
Prague, Czech Republic

An opportunity to hear how the project has progressed and is developing in many key areas of its work. The event will be chaired by Tom Zunder of NewRail and will include John Berry from DG TREN as a keynote speaker.

Trans-European Rail Freight Seminar

3 September 2008
Delft, The Netherlands

Hosted by the RETRACK consortium, the focus of the seminar will be on the challenges of organizing innovative rail transport. Topics will include the current status of state rail developments in the Netherlands, promoting rail transport in the Netherlands, logistics requirements for rail services in Europe from a client perspective, European rail infrastructure state of the art and trans-European business models.

Logistics Research Network 2008 Conference, Liverpool

Key Issues for Commercial Rail Freight Service in Europe

This conference was held on 10-12th September 2008 in Liverpool. The paper is an outcome of WP2 of the RETRACK project funded by the EC. The authors are: Tom Zunder, Dewan Islam and Phil Mortimer. The paper was presented by Dewan Islam. The Logistics Research Network 2008 Conference Proceedings are edited by Andrew C. Lyons

The objective of the European Commission funded RETRACK project is to conduct research to develop, demonstrate and implement a new commercial rail freight service along the East-West corridor from Constanza to Rotterdam traversing five national railway networks.

The authors have conducted a state-of-the-art literature review and field surveys for this. This paper assesses the current status of rail freight along the RETRACK corridor in terms of transhipment technology and systems, information and communication systems, safety and security of cargo, rolling stock and locomotives, human resources, legislative and regulatory status, and command and control systems.

The study finds that all of the national networks vary in terms of terminal technology and systems, capacity and utilisation, ICT, security of cargo, human resource competence, training requirements, infrastructure capacity and utilisation, and signalling systems. The demonstration of a commercial rail freight service on the corridor will be feasible, competitive, and environmentally benign and will help achieving the long-aspired modal shift. (for more information visit

Click here for the full paper

Logistics Requirement for Commercial Rail Freight Services in Europe

This paper was presented at the LRN2008 conference held in Liverpool on 10-12th September by Dewan Islam. This paper is an outcome of WP1 of the RETRACK project funded by the EC under FP6. The authors are: Gerwin Zomer from TNO, The Netherlands and Dewan Islam from Newcastle University. The Logistics Research Netowrk 2008 Conference Proceedings is edited by Andrew C. Lyons.

Freight transport is crucial for economic competitiveness for any country or region. In Europe overall the freight transport volume has increased substantially, but rail freight has increased insignificantly (9.2%) in contrast to huge increase of road freight (37.9%) over the period 1995-2005. European transport policy focuses on sustainable but competitive transport systems. Even being generally environmentally favourable, rail could not increase its market share due to the failure to deliver key customer requirements: reliability, quality of service, a door-to-door service and cost. With the adoption of new EC ‘Co-modal’ policy, modal shift is no longer a goal in itself. This new policy aims to utilise different modes or combination of modes in the best possible way. Thus there is an urgent need to investigate the rail potential and thus suggest logistics necessity for rail freight services in a commercial, competitive, secure and sustainable fashion.

In line with this policy objective, this paper applied a top-down modelling and a bottom-up analysis approach including a literature review and 21 in-depth interviews among the stakeholders along the rail corridor between Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Constanza in Romania. The study finds that the corridor has a significant potential to start a rail freight service in the corridor with a frequency of 2 to 8 times per week with 80 to 100 hours transit time depending on the number of stops.

Click here for the full paper

Composites in Fire 5 Conference (CIF-5)

damaged carbon fibre fragment following a simulated aircraft crash fire

The 5th International Conference on Composites in Fire was held at Newcastle University on 10-11th July 2008.  Composites in Fire has established itself as the leading international conference in an area which is seen as vital to the future use of lightweight composite materials.  (picture shows damaged carbon fibre fragment following a simulated aircraft crash fire)

The meeting was attended by over 70 delegates, from 20 different countries.  Several important national and regional bodies were represented, including EADS, Airbus, Boeing, US Navy, DCN (France), DSTO (Australia) and the German Federal Institute.  All the major university research groups active in the area were represented, including RMIT (Australia), Virginia Tech and University of Buffalo (USA), Newcastle and Bolton Universities (UK), Universities of Porto and Lisbon (Portugal), and EPFL and EMPA (Switzerland). 

Topics addressed included nanocomposites, naval composite fires, post-crash fire behaviour and toxicity of aerospace composites and the space shuttle disaster. Papers from Newcastle University reported the results of an EU-funded Marie Curie Research Transfer Network on Composites in Transport as well as an international collaboration on naval composites involving the US Navy, RMIT Australia and Virginia Tech, USA.

For further details, conference proceedings etc, contact Professor Geoff Gibson (



Freightwise First International Conference Freightwise logo

The Freightwise project held its first annual international conference at the Life Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne on the 31st October 2007.

The conference was preceded by a dinner at the Life Centre on the evening of the 30th October.

This was an opportunity to hear how the project started, progressed and is developing in many of the key areas of work, focusing on the industrial cases where the Freightwise Framework will be utilised. There was also an opportunity to hear how the new Logistics Action Plan incorporating co-modality from the EC DGTREN is developing. 

Delegates were able to network with the 55 research, commercial and industrial partners within Freightwise and with the wider ICT and intermodal research community who attended.

The event was chaired by Tom Zunder, an experienced line manager and intermodal researcher, and included John Berry from DG TREN as a keynote speaker.



Practical Applications of Sandwich Structures SANDCORE logo

13 December 2005 - Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

This workshop is being organised by the SAND.CORe co-ordination action on "Advanced Sandwich Structures in the Transport Industries". The workshop will cover a range of issues that are currently limiting the adoption of sandwich structures by the transport sectors. These include:

Materials selection; Design; Manufacturing; Joining; Recycling; Fire Performance

This workshop represents one component of the SAND.CORe initiative by providing a forum for review, discussion and networking, and for identifying and highlighting research priorities for the future.

Further details are available from

International Conference on Aluminium Crashworthiness

07 September 2005 - National Railway Museum, York, UK

This conference was of interest to a full range of the railway industry through standards institutes, manufacturers, operators, owners to railway researchers. It also highlighted the state of the art knowledge of crashworthiness of rail vehicles and rail vehicle joints and compared this with structures in Japan and the automotive sector.

Presentations available from joe carruthers

4th International Conference on Composites in Fire (CIF-4)

15-16 September 2005 - University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Lack of adequate fire performance is the greatest single factor hindering the more widespread use of composites in all transport and infrastructure applications. The aim of the COMPOSITES IN FIRE conferences was to promote research towards a step-change improvement in the fire behaviour of composite structures. Important developments in fire resistance and fire reaction have already taken place since the last CIF-3.The 2005 meeting summarised these developments and brought together the key experts from three continents. This is an area where developments are happening rapidly, and it is important for everyone involved to stay up to date with the latest research.

Presentations can be obtained from




A workshop was held in Brussels for the SAND.CORe project, which is a Co-ordination Action on Advanced Sandwich Structures in the Transport Industries.

The aim of the workshop was to provide a forum for review, discussion and networking and for identifying and highlighting research priorities for the future. The workshop was well attended and feedback showed that the day was useful and informative.

The presentations from this workshop, as well as the results of an on-site survey, are now available on-line. You can access them at:


CITY FREIGHT was a European research project on inter- and intra-urban freight distribution networks. It carried out analysis of freight transport systems already functioning in Europe and evaluated their socioeconomic and environmental impacts in an urban context. CITY FREIGHT identified and focused on innovative and promising logistic schemes in the seven countries represented in the project consortium. The objective of the project was to provide guidance to interested stakeholders (government, regional, or local authorities, network operators, shippers and consignees) on the advantages and drawbacks of some recent innovations in the field of inter-and intra- urban freight distribution systems.

Details of the presentations can be requested from


A Thematic Network on the Future Use of Composites in Transport - FINAL EVENT

Throughout 2002 and 2003, the COMPOSIT thematic network organised a series of workshops on ten of the most critical issues associated with the use of composite materials in the aerospace, automotive and rail industries. The final event of the COMPOSIT Thematic network was held on 28th and 29th June 2004 in Bristol, U K, and was attended by over 100 international delegates.

Day 1 of the event began with a tour of the AIRBUS facility at Filton on the outskirts of Bristol . Some of our delegates were treated to tours of the composites processing and testing centres.

Professor Geoff Gibson; Lord Mayor of Bristol; Ms Sian Evans

On the evening of the first day a cocktail reception and gala dinner was held on the ss Great Britain. Delegates were given a warm welcome by Mr Simon Cook, the Lord Mayor of Bristol .

Day 2 of the event was a one-day Conference that reported on the overall findings of the COMPOSIT thematic network. Members of the project presented the projects recommendations for future research priorities.

Leading experts from industry and academia also shared their strategic visions for the future use of composite materials in the transport sectors. The emphasis of the Conference was on the technical barriers that need to be overcome to promote the more widespread use of composites in transport. There was plenty of opportunity for audience participation and feedback using the DIGIVOTE system.