Rail Engineer is sad to announce the death of Professor Roger Goodall, an outstanding engineer and Fellow and past chair of the IMechE Railway Division. Roger passed away in August after a short battle with cancer.
Roger was instrumental in many key innovations in railway engineering including the development of a suspension controller design for an experimental Maglev vehicle in 1976 which became the world’s first operational Maglev system at Birmingham Airport in the UK. He also led the first experimental demonstration of a full-scale active suspension for a railway vehicle in 1979 and the first demonstration of tilting railway vehicle using electro-mechanical actuators – now the standard technology for tilting trains in Europe.
Roger graduated from University of Cambridge in 1968 and initially worked in industry at Brush and BAE systems. In 1970 he joined British Rail’s Research Division in Derby.
He took up an academic position as a Lecturer at Loughborough University in 1982, followed by promotion to Senior Lecturer and a period as Head of Department (Electronic and Electrical Engineering) from 1990-94. Roger was awarded his Chair in Control Systems Engineering in 1994 and established the Control Systems Research group at Loughborough during the mid-2000s. He was also Director of the EPSRC’s Systems Engineering Doctorate Centre at Loughborough from 2005 to 2009.
In 2013 Roger was appointed to a second Professorship in the Institute of Railway Research at the University of Huddersfield, and he contributed to research at both Loughborough and Huddersfield until very recently.
Roger’s research was concerned with a variety of practical applications of advanced control, usually for high performance electro-mechanical systems. His projects were characterised by strong industrial collaboration, having worked with companies such as Alstom, BAE Systems, Bombardier Transportation.
In 2002 Roger led the experimental demonstration of an actively-stabilised high-speed railway bogie and more recently with colleagues at Loughborough University, the development of algorithms for low adhesion detection and the development of a novel railway track switch.
Roger has received many awards, including the IMechE’s James Watt International Gold Medal. He was the 2nd Vice President of the International Association for Vehicle System Dynamics (IAVSD) from 2003 to 2005, IAVSD Treasurer from 2005 to 2011, and joint host of the 2011 IAVD Symposium in Manchester. In 2021 he was made an Honorary Member of IAVSD.
Roger was a key figure in the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC), serving the federation in many roles between 1991 and 2022. In 2019 Roger received a lifetime achievement award from IFAC for his pioneering research contributions in mechatronics and its application to industrial systems, particularly internationally leading research in Maglev and active control for future mechatronic railway vehicles.
Alongside his many outstanding achievements and awards Roger was, above all, a kind and supportive colleague to all those around him. He was always generous with his time and keen to support his colleagues, peers, and students.
Roger’s funeral took place on 14 September at the village hall in Tealby.
Image credit: Loughborough University