Last year saw the birth of the Engineering Club, a group of students with a common interest in all things mechanical, who came together with Mr Dix, our Head of Boarding to build a ride-on steam locomotive in 7 ¼ inch gauge.
The students started the year learning about engineering principles, use of hand tools, safety by design and mass manufacture principles, equipping them with the knowledge to build, with support, a significantly sized, fully functioning steam engine weighing in at 300Kg!
Such a passion and enthusiasm from the students led to the desire to continue the club for a second year. With significant numbers of students signing up to engineering club at the annual club fair where the locomotive was on display, there was a genuine excitement for what was to follow. Naturally, the building of a locomotive led to the dream of installing a railway at Brillantmont. The students were excited to hear that was exactly the plan!
This year, the thirteen students in the club have been working in collaboration with the Science and Maths departments to plan the route of the railway across the campus. Maths classes have been using their trigonometry skills from the maths curriculum, putting theory into practice, whilst the science department have undertaken a gradient profile using the data from the Maths department.
At the same time, the engineering club have been working on the steam engine, adding steam operated water pumps and even a generator to give steam powered USB ports! They have also been plotting the route in the garden, ready groundwork preparations.
The cross curricular opportunities do not stop there! Brillantmont is fortunate to have its own architect who is working on a project with the students to build an engine shed for the railway. This is a fantastic opportunity for students interested in architecture at university, as well as other linked professions. To go to an interview with a portfolio of an architecture project you undertook with an eminent Swiss architect really sets the bar high!
Plans for the winter are construction of the track panels in preparation for ground works and installation in the spring, when temperatures remain above freezing. In April, students will be installing the track in the garden, learning about foundations, camber and cant to aid drainage, preparation of cement and use of ballast to name but a few, with future electronics and coding projects for point control and signaling.
Students are excited to be driving the train around school, giving rides to their friends and reaping the rewards by bringing together all of their cross-curricular knowledge. All aboard the education train!
Brillantmont International School
Founded in 1882, Brillantmont International School is the oldest family owned and run boarding school in Switzerland, which offers a warm welcoming environment. Brillantmont has the best of both worlds - close to the amenities of the beautiful city of Lausanne, but just minutes from mountains, lakes and nature.
The school welcomes boarding and day students, aged 13-18 (Grades 8-12) from many different nationalities. Small classes (av. 9) lead to internationally recognised examinations (British IGCSE, A Level; High School Diploma with SAT and IELTS).
Want to enrol your child at the Brillantmont International School.
Find out more about our School Year Programme here!