Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Signalling systems and technology for railways

Overall Course Objectives

The purpose of the course is to illustrate the integrated operation of railway systems in regards to dispatching, signalling and interlocking and the technologies enabling it. The course aims at establishing a basic understanding of functional subsystems, technological principles and differential evolutionary technical developments, which can be applied for the evaluation and declaration of design rules, analysis and design of signalling and interlocking infrastructure elements for railways.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the interrelation between traffic management systems, signal equipment, interlocking systems and on-board train protection systems.
  • Clarify the safety principles in railway operations
  • Clarify the safety principles in signalling systems
  • Explain the principles behind Train Detection (Track Clear Detection) and how it is used in signalling systems.
  • Describe the purpose and functionality of an interlocking system for a station.
  • Apply design rules for signalling, interlocking and train protection systems.
  • Analyse requirements and design accordingly infrastructure elements for railway signalling and interlocking in specific contexts (i.e. railway station or open line).
  • Explain ERTMS and illustrate the differences from previous signalling systems.
  • Describe the principles of GSM-Railways (GSM-R) communication technology.
  • Analyse requirements for GSM-R based radio coverage, for stations or open lines, and design the necessary GSM-radio elements.
  • Describe the principles of Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) system, assessing differences and similarities with other systems (i.e. ERTMS).

Course Content

The course introduces the theoretical background and history of railway signalling systems. The theoretical part of the course introduces the signal equipment, interlocking systems and their instrumental relation to traffic control. Different types of signalling systems will be introduced, including The European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) and the Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC). During the course and correlated with the theoretical presentations, focus will be put on the design and evaluation of signalling systems through periodic required exercises. The course is comprised of lectures by local staff and guest lectures from external consultancy. A field trip (to study infrastructure elements and traffic control) could be integrated in the plan, but can not be guaranteed a priori, since it depends on external stakeholders possibilities.

Recommended prerequisites


Teaching Method

Lectures, self-tuition, exercises and project work in groups


See course in the course database.





13 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 34345
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 35
Semester end Week 48
Days Tues 8-12

7.500,00 DKK