Single-Course English 10 ECTS

Railway Design and Maintenance

Overall Course Objectives

The purpose of the course is to achieve competences within the field of design and maintenance of railways for high-speed trains and freight – this includes track alignment, stations, traction current and power supply.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the infrastructure elements of railways, the affiliated standards, and the relation to their traffic functionality
  • Describe the horizontal and vertical elements of a railway. Explain why and where cant is used and determine its size
  • Explain the elements in a cross section; explain why cross slope is applied to the sub ballast
  • Describe the static and kinematic reference profiles, the structure gauges and the track distance
  • Use a CAD based railway design system to design a track alignment
  • Describe the differences of various traction power supply systems and estimate the power demand
  • Describe the principles for the function of overhead contact line systems, determine the location of supporting structures along track according to a given track geometry and be able to profile overhead contact wires below bridges
  • Carry out a realistic design project for track and overhead contact line for a railway line
  • Explain how a railway is constructed with respect to the maintenance aspect of the infrastructure
  • Describe the phases in a railway project
  • Know the methodology for budgeting and cost estimating a railway project
  • Describe and explain why preventive maintenance impacts the life cycle of the railway

Course Content

The need of efficient and climate friendly mobility is setting up new targets for planning modern transport infrastructure as a prerequisite to bring people and freight fast through regions, in and out of urban areas or across borders. In this context it can be seen that spatial planning schemes and strategies more and more involve a design of new rail transport infrastructure.

The course will examine the practical application of track engineering principles. The course focuses on electrified railways (a sustainable transport solution) with emphasis on how to design the horizontal and vertical alignment, together with the catenary system in a CAD-program; taking into consideration the maintenance of the track design. Furthermore, the course also provides important competences for cost and budgeting of a railway project in the different phases of construction, inauguration and daily operation. The course program includes a case of a railway track suitable for regional express trains running 200 km/h, even faster long-distance passenger trains, and heavy freight trains.

As a part of the course an excursion will be arranged to visit a real railway construction site in order to achieve a better understanding of the elements of the railway infrastructure.
Additionally, it will be possible during the course to meet several experts within the rail transport industry.

The course is taught in English.

Recommended prerequisites

12415/62622, 12415 “Basic Course in Pavement Engineering” gives knowledge into the fundamental design and construction of road pavements which is overall the same principles used in the construction and design of the trackbed for Railways.
62622 “Railway Technology and Operations” ensures that the students have knowledge with respect to capacity and running time calculation for creating timetables for railway operations.

Teaching Method

Lectures, self-tuition, exercises and project work in groups of 2 or 3.


See course in the course database.





13 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 12452
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 5
Semester end Week 19
Days Wed 8-17

15.000,00 DKK