Tomorrow's innovative engineers

Bachelor Courses

Why study Railway Engineering?

Railways are complex systems that combine various multidisciplinary aspects such as infrastructure, operations, management, safety and policy. It is the fastest and most reliable way of transportation and used by more people worldwide then any other way of public transport. Keeping the system up and running brings many challenges everyday and to stay ahead on the changing demands of passengers asks for innovation and a long term vision.

The railway infrastructure (track, power supply, rolling stock, safety and signalling) should facilitate the desired railway operations (train services, traffic density, heterogeneity, synchronisation, speed) based on the transportation requirements. Therefore railway engineers should have an integrated knowledge on the whole system and interactions between subsystems.

Rail Courses
To get acquainted with the complex nature of the railway systems two courses are offered in TU Delft Bachelor Program; Minor Bend and Break and introductory course Road and Railway (CTB3320). Students can also choose to write their Bachelor Thesis on rail related topics, supported by our academic staff and people from the railway sector.

More information
Please stop by our department on Wednesday or Thursday and our staff will be available to answer questions on the different courses, how to integrate them within your curriculum and the possibilities to study Rail within the Master.

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (Stevin II building)
Valeri Markine (room S2 2.33) or by absence Jacqueline Barnhoorn (room S2 2.29)

Minor Bend and Break (2015, 2016)

The Railway part of this Minor concerns the technical aspects of railway track design. When a train travels over a track the forces acting on both the track and the vehicle. In some cases, such as at switches & crossings, curves, transitions at bridges, high temperature variation, high speeds etc. these forces can be extremely high. These forces can cause track failure (rail breakage, track buckling etc.) or/and train derailment. On a long term these forces contribute to deterioration of a track structure causing ballast/soil settlements, rail wear etc. Also, passenger’s comfort can deteriorate as well. When designing a track these aspects should be taken into account.

Due to high dimensions of railway tracks/trains, scaled track models (1:7 and 1:67) are used in this course. Next to the model building activities, where students propose, design and demonstrate improvements on rail track design themselves, additional lectures and excursions are planned explaining the fundamentals and complex challenges of Railway Engineering.

Master Program

Master Annotation

A special rail annotation has been developed to provide the railway industry with scientifically educated engineers with knowledge of the whole railway system to deal with the railway challenges of today and shape the future railways. The modern railway sector is rapidly rejuvenating and losing skilled professionals by retirements and therefore have a big demand for trained engineers in the railway field.

Delft University of Technology is the only university in the Netherlands offering a wide range of railway education and research. The Annotation Railway Systems gives the opportunity to students of various Master profiles to add a consistent set of railway courses to their programme and become a railway expert from various disciplines.

Faculties involved
■ Civil Engineering and Geosciences
■ Technology, Policy and Management
■ Materials Science and Engineering

Choose from 10 new courses on Railway Engineering and Operations and get the rail annotation within your regular curriculum.

For more information, please contact us through or visit our BlackBoard environment.

Featured Projects

Master studies and experiences from students will follow soon.


Students will be qualified for this annotation if they successfully have accomplished the following requirements:

■  Compulsory courses (8 ECTS)
■  Elective courses (14 ECTS or more)
■  Graduation thesis on rail related topic (30-40 ECTS, depending on Master’s programme)

1 ECTS = 28 hrs study, according to the European Credit Tranfser System (ECTS) One academic year is 60 ECTS

The annotation ‘Railway Systems’ is embedded within multiple MSc programmes:

■  MSc Civil Engineering
>> track Structural Engineering (CEG/SE)
>> track Transport & Planning (CEG/TP)
■  MSc Transport, Infrastructure and Logistics (TIL)
■  MSc TU Delft flexible track (Flex)
>> all faculties (consult railway staff)

Graduation project and thesis must have a close relation to the field of railways.

Download MSc brochure (PDF).

PhD Program

Railway Research at TU Delft

Research of the Railway Engineering group is for a large part funded by external resources. This implies that it has very good contacts with practice to find out the main problems for which practice does need answers. Based on this input, the Railway Engineering group formulates research programmes, so answers can be generated through fundamental research by means of PhD projects.

An overview of PhD projects and publications can be found under research themes.

Being a PhD student at TU Delft means performing leading research, as well developing your competences to become a skilled professional. Our Graduate School offers a training programme on project management, academic communication, ethics and integrity and teaching skills. You will be working with, and learning from, some of the best in the field.

At this time there are no official PhD-openings within our group, but we are always seeking to strengthen our team with innovative researchers and young professionals. If you believe you fit this profile, feel free to send us an open application.

Contact us through

Online Learning

Follow our courses worldwide!

In 2019 TU Delft will run an educational program fully dedicated to the topic of Rail. Learners from all around the world can participate and get acquainted with the complex challenges of railway engineering and railway operations. Especially how both are connected and affect each other on multiple scales.

Leading researchers and some of the best rail professionals in the field have joined strengths and created an exciting MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) for everyone and a series of follow-up modules (Professional Education) designed for the industry.

Participants work from an online learning environment based on active educational methods like case studies, forum discussions, knowledge clips and serious gaming.

Start: April and October (Yearly)
Duration: 6 weeks, 4-5 hours per week
Costs: Free

Professional Online Education
Start: Every March more details
Duration per module: 6 weeks, 4-5 hours per week
Costs: 350 euro separate (program price 1100 euro)

MOOC on Railway Systems Engineering

Have you ever wondered what it takes to get your train on the right platform at the scheduled time every day?

We will show you the many factors which are involved and how multiple people, behind the scenes, have a daily task that enables you to get from home to work. Journey with us into the world of rail – a complex system that connects people, cities and countries.

This engineering course attempts to tackle those issues by introducing you to a holistic approach to railway systems engineering. You will learn how the system components depend on each other to create a reliable, efficient and state-of-the-art network.

A brand new MOOC on railway systems engineering delivered by the renowned experts of TU Delft and leading professionals working in the industry. It combines theoretical knowledge with practical examples, with the main objective to maintain a high degree of reliability under predictable and unknown circumstances.

Discover the science and complexity behind the exciting world of railway systems – whether train, metro or tram – this course will set you on the right track!

Free enrollment through the edX platform!

Online advanced series

In 2019 TU Delft will launch an advanced online series especially designed for people working within the railway sector. The main aspects of rail will be discussed; how they are related, affect each other and influence the system on multiple levels. The courses are given by experienced lecturers from TU Delft and well-known experts from the railways industry, with the focus on professionals who want to strengthen their organisations with knowledge and expertise on all aspects of rail infrastructure and rolling stock. Technical knowledge and an academic viewpoint as a basis for success. More information.

Track and Train Interaction

This course is about the fundamentals of rail way engineering and putting knowledge into practice. Participants will familiarize with the superstructure of railways, the properties of the most important materials, wheel-rail interface and traction systems. By explaining the different elements of the railway system, learners get a better understanding of the construction and principle of the superstructure and rolling stock.

Real Time Operations

This course is about planning and operations of passenger railways. Participants will learn the various transport planning phases, choice of railway systems and transport network structures, characteristics of railway traffic and passenger demand, and the principles of timetable design. Planning steps include the types of train, capacity assessment, frequency and scheduled train paths on the infrastructure.

Performance over Time

This course is about the importance of a good monitoring system, typical failure modes and how by using KPI’s a good maintenance strategy can be defined in railway infrastructures. Participants will learn all the principal elements that allows to take optimal maintenance decisions. This course will equip professionals of the railway industry with a global approach to tackle decision making in railways.

Professional Education

On Campus Study Programme

An on-campus modular study for the railway industry by experienced lecturers from TU Delft and leading companies, focussed on professionals who want to further develop their knowledge and expertise on the engineering aspects of rail infrastructure and rolling stock. The programme provides an overview of the essentials of construction, management and operation of rail infrastructure and rail vehicles. The combination of infrastructure and rolling stock provides the participant with the ability to develop integral knowledge of railways, which is necessary to accommodate the cooperation between the different parties in the rail sector. Completion of the entire programme will lead to a diploma in professional education from TU Delft.

Technical knowledge as the basis for success

In the rail industry technology has a central position in the achievement of strategic objectives. It is inextricably linked to technological innovation and the ability to keep these renewals well maintained. Comprehensive technical knowledge of rail technology is a prerequisite for successful acting in the entire rail industry.

The professional education programme in Rail Engineering of Delft University of Technology is a part time study that will develop a sound knowledge of the latest scientific developments in the field of rail technology. Attendees will develop appropriate skills to strengthen their organisation in technical knowledge and know how.

Added value for the employer

Participation in the program is a cost-effective way for all companies in the rail industry to increase employee quality of work and reduce costs resulting from errors due to a lack of knowledge. Ignorance due to lack of technical knowledge is a factor that affects decision making processes and disturbs proper assessment of proposals and bids.

By giving employees an opportunity to follow the study a constant flow of knowledge and best practices is created for the enterprise. Companies that allow their employees to join the program will benefit directly from new perspectives of scientists and experts in the field of railway engineering.

Target group of the programme

Professionals working in the rail sector in positions at a level of higher education (BSc/MSc) and knowledge workers and experts who are responsible for tasks such as:

■  Drafting specifications and project documentation;
■  Management and control of contracting firms;
■  Analysis of technical failures and problems;
■  Advising management and initiating improvements.

For inquiries and admission, please contact us through

Additional information in Dutch.