Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Railway transport and sustainable logistics

Overall Course Objectives

The course presents railway transport with emphasis on freight transport. The course provides a brief introduction to railway technology. The primary focus of the course is service planning for freight transport, including supply chain design for reduction of climate impact. The freight transport market is categorized and presented as domestic (short distance), international (long distance) and intercontinental (maritime-intermodal). The course also offers a brief introduction to railway competitors such as truck and maritime.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the fundamental technology of railways and their economic and management structure
  • Describe the service design of freight transport provided by railways
  • Compare and contrast road, rail and maritime transport according to specified criteria, with emphasis on sustainability
  • Construct models of railway infrastructure in simulation software
  • Solve problems of capacity calculation using railway simulation software
  • Describe the single wagon load service problem and solve problems of single wagon load service design
  • Explain the policies and objectives of EU freight transport policy, particularly the interface with national transport policies
  • Assess the role of information technology and digitalization for sustainable freight and transport logistics
  • Describe and specify the required infrastructure for railway freight services
  • Develop a solution to an integrated case study in freight transport and logistics

Course Content

Transport is responsible for 800 million tons of CO2 emissions annually. Within freight transport, nearly all of the emissions are from road transport. The EU from 2011 set a goal that over 50% of road freight traffic should shift to rail transport by 2050. This course examines the benefits and challenges of this goal. The strengths, weaknesses and requirements of rail transport are presented, particularly the competitive position of rail versus road and maritime. The course presents service design of rail freight for the three most common markets: intermodal, carload and unit train. Methods of railway freight service design for both Europe and North America are explained.

Teaching Method

The course is organized with lectures, self-tuition, exercises and field trips and self-studies. Project work in groups of 3-4 students.
Guest students from abroad are encouraged and welcome



Research group: Production, Transportation and Planning
Elective: Industrial Engineering and Management: 2. semester

Special excursions and tours are offered as budget and external support allow. Some years there may be exciting tours, sometimes outside Denmark.

See course in the course database.





13 weeks


Engineering Technology


DTU Ballerup Campus

Course code 63881
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 5
Semester end Week 19
Days Tues 8-12

7.500,00 DKK