Rail Innovation & Development Centre (RIDC) Melton

Serco operates the Rail Innovation & Development Centre (RIDC) Melton at Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire on behalf of Network Rail.  This is a unique high speed test facility for the UK rail industry. It provides a specialised non-mainline facility for the testing, validation and commissioning of new and modified rolling stock, plant, on track machines, infrastructure, equipment and technology, away from the constraints of the mainline network.  RIDC Melton is connected to the national rail network via a branch from Melton Junction.

RIDC Melton comprises the Asfordby Test Centre and the Test Track.  The Test Track was originally part of the Midland Railway line from St Pancras to Nottingham and features gradients, tunnels and curves of a typical mainline railway; an ideal test bed for traction and rolling stock. RIDC Melton has two main test tracks:

  • 21km Down Reversible Line, allowing up to 125 Mile/h running, of which 17km has 25kV OLE. This line can be configured in different ways to maximise capacity, albeit at reduced speeds (90 Mile/h on the 2 x 5 five mile electrified sections).

  • 7.5km Up Reversible Line (60 Mile/h) has 25kV OLE throughout, or alternatively 4.35km is also fitted with 630/750V 4th rail DC electrification to allow testing of LUL vehicles.  This DC line also provides virtual stations equipped for testing of doors, CCTV etc. and is currently used for testing the new Automatic Train Control system for LUL Sub Surface Lines.

The Asfordby Centre provides three 200m long workshop roads, each fitted with 25kV OLE, plus a shorter non-electrified road used mainly for lifting and jacking individual vehicles.  A Depot Protection System provides mechanically interlocked derailer protection and OLE isolation lockout protection for individual roads.  The workshop also provides a roof access platform and pillar crane. Electrical supplies include a 415V AC shore supply and other 110V/20V/415V ring main access. Logistic support is afforded by easy access to the Centre for delivery vehicles, provision for off-loading of vehicles from road transport, adjacent sidings and storage areas within the facility itself.

We work closely with our client, Network Rail and their customers to optimise the use of this dedicated site with our team of highly skilled Operations Safety Managers and Workshop Supervisors. RIDC Melton is operated under a non-mainline  Safety Management System, which is tailored to its dedicated role as a test facility. Our Line Controllers manage all access to, and movements on, the Test Track whilst also acting as the site Electrical Control Operator.  Our Operations Safety Managers supervise all test train movements, driving or conducting the vehicles, thus allowing the customer to concentrate on the specific test requirements.

In recent years Serco has also managed a series of significant upgrades to RIDC including additional storage facilities, re-commissioning the OLE and enhancing the linespeeds to support recent customer requirements. 

Collaboratively with Network Rail, we aim to develop the facility further and continue to lead on such enhancements to allow RIDC Melton to be the leading railway test facility in the world.  

Testing equipment

Serco Rail Technical Services is also able to complement our RIDC Melton services with additional testing and monitoring support to customer test programmes, such as pantograph monitoring.  This would allow customers to take advantage of Serco’s wider rail engineering offering.