World-leading railway engineer Bridget Eickhoff has been awarded the prestigious James Clayton Prize by her peers at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).
Based at rail industry body RSSB as their Principal Infrastructure Engineer, Bridget is renowned as one of rail's leading authorities on the wheel-rail interface, with an incredible career spanning over 40 years, starting at BR Research.
The award means Bridget (pictured centre above) has been formally recognised for an exceptional contribution and outstanding services to the mechanical engineering discipline.
A Cambridge maths graduate and chartered engineer, Bridget was at the forefront of developing computer software to inform understanding of rail vehicle dynamics, as well as ways to reduce the risk of derailment. Following privatisation, she moved to AEA Technology Rail (later DeltaRail, now Resonate) and then to RSSB in 2008.
While at RSSB, Bridget has played a lead role in developing and updating rail infrastructure standards, and is a key expert on the engineering issues at the platform-train interface. Bridget also led on the European project, "DynoTRAIN", which helped to establish consistent approaches to rail vehicle dynamics in European standards and processes, speeding up product approvals.
Bridget has also been at the heart of activities in IMechE's Railway Division, contributing to professional development initiatives, training, and encouraging the next generation of rail engineers. She was Railway Division Chairman in 2012-13 and is also a regular volunteer at the annual Railway Challenge.
RSSB's director of standards Tom Lee said: Bridget has shaped rail's destiny at a global level, and her own fascination with engineering has been at the heart of her influence and achievement. Bridget's passion and skill are a shining example of excellence in rail engineering, fully deserving of this prize. Simply, Bridget has directly influenced reducing cost, improving performance and managing compatibility for railways in the UK and across Europe. Making this impact is admirable and should inspire new generations of both men and women to consider careers in rail engineering.
On being awarded the prize, Bridget said: It's both a surprise and an honour to be recognised in this way, and I'm truly grateful to everyone at IMechE for awarding the prize to me. I have always found engineering both captivating and intriguing, and I hope young people thinking about careers consider engineering and railways as contenders for their own futures.
The James Clayton Prize is awarded to a member of the Institution who has made an exceptional contribution to mechanical engineering and related science, technology and invention – by way of research, invention, experimental work, a paper, engineering design or services to engineering.
Bridget Eickhoff has also been the recipient of 2016 George Stephenson Gold Medal.
Bridget's award has also been covered in a news item by IMechE: