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The University of Southampton

Dr Louis Le Pen M.Eng, PGCE, Ph.D, C.Eng, MICE

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Louis Le Pen's photo

Dr Louis Le Pen is Senior Research Fellow within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Current position

Dr Louis Le Pen has a broad interest in geotechnical engineering research and application. His current research activities are primarily focused on geotechnical aspects of railway track performance. Examples of investigative research include:

Louis also co-supervises a number of PhD and undergraduate project students and has given guest lectures and supervised laboratory classes.

Recent career history

Dr Louis Le Pen is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southampton UK and specialises in laboratory testing and field research into the performance of railway track systems. Over the past 15 years he has worked on research projects funded mainly by the UK's EPSRC, Network Rail and the European Union. He has authored over 40 publications and his work has been recognised most notably by an honourable mention for the Quigley award (Canadian Geotechnical Journal) and the BGA medal (Geotechnique). He is also co-editor of the Cross-Industry Track Stiffness Working Group's "A Guide to Track Stiffness".

Keywords: Ballast, Geotechnical engineering, Infrastructure, Railway infrastructure, Retaining Structures, Slopes, Soil mechanics, Critical velocity, Tampless track, Integral Bridges.

Principal activities

  • Design and supervision of bespoke laboratory tests on representations of railway track and ballast
  • Design, implementation and analysis of results from bespoke field monitoring systems for the evaluation of track performance, e.g. using pressure cells, geophones, high speed filming with digital image correlation, extensometers, accelerometers (MEMs)
  • Supervision of doctoral students

Research Projects

Principal Investigator, Research Co Investigator, Named Researcher or Project Manager for:

EPSRC funded:

  • Track to the Future
  • Track 21
  • Track 400
  • The development and role of structure in railway ballast

Strategic University Partnership (SUP), in Future Infrastructure Systems (Network Rail)

  • subprojects include research on the performance of Under sleeper pads at Switches and Crossings and on plane line, ballast migration, under track crossings, integral bridges

EU projects within the Shift2rail programme working with Network Rail, European and UK universities and industrial partners:

  • In2Rail and In2Track work has included performance of S&C, evaluating novel track form , composite bearer performance and reusing ballast to name but a few.

Research group

Infrastructure Group

Research project(s)

Track to the Future


CENV3065-36590-18-19 18-19-Railway Engineering and Operations-36590  Lecture 2: Track and Sub-base Engineering
FEEG3003-32772-18-19 18-19-Individual Project-32772 Individual project supervisor
Dr Louis Le Pen
Engineering, University of Southampton, Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus, Burgess Road, Southampton, SO16 7QF

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