Railway Engineering

Railway Engineering

Instructor information

Module leader: Prof. Stefano Ricci, Prof. Riccardo Licciardello

Course information

ECTS: 12 credits
Status: Compulsory
Semester: 3
Hours: 60/36 (lectures/exercises)
Link: course page


To provide with basic elements of knowledge concerning the railway transport system and the educational elements to study the railway complex system operation, as well as the design criteria of infrastructure, vehicle and operation itself.

Syllabus outline

  • Introduction and educational goals
  • Railway line layout
  • Operational constraints due to infrastructure, rolling stock and personnel
  • Timetable planning and train composition
  • Line headway
  • Functions and typology of signalling systems
  • Integrity and efficiency check during the trip
  • Level crossings protection
  • Criteria and methods for signalling maintenance
  • Traffic on lines and stations
  • Station interlocking
  • Station layouts
  • Metro lines plants
  • Marshalling yards
  • Reliability, maintainability and availability
  • Services quality requirements
  • Traffic control and management systems
  • Dynamic of railway vehicles
  • Structural components of vehicles. Suspension. Contact forces. Wheelset-rail interaction. Vertical stiffness. Vertical dynamics. Adhesion. Running stability in straight and in curve. Construction features in favour of stability. Experimental approach to driving dynamic studies.
  • Formulation and development of the design of the traction system. Maximum speed of track. Correlations between commercial speed, vehicle speed, distance between stops, acceleration. Range of characteristic parameters of the vehicle for different categories of services. Correlation between mass of the locomotive, trailer mass and slope. Resistance to motion, power, traction performance. Power supply. Maintenance.
  • Operation of rail systems. Timetable design. Traffic capacity at the station. Probabilistic method. Fixed Timetable method. Numerical exercises on the topics of the program.

Essential reading list

Recent theses