Friday 15 October 2021

Railway engineering: play and learn

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Would you like to learn what it takes to create and maintain a robust railway system and get trains on the correct platform at the scheduled time, deal with disturbances and improve services over time?

This online course from the Delft University of Technology, offered free of charge on the edX platform and beginning on 20 October, gives train users and professionals in Europe and around the world the opportunity to explore the science, engineering and technology behind the exciting world of rail. More than 20,000 people from over 130 countries have taken part in the course since it was launched.

“In this short online course, through the use of practical and familiar examples, we explain in an attractive and visual way the systems’ underlying complexity. We want to give participants an insight into all that happens behind their daily commute.” – Rolf Dollevoet, Professor of Railway Engineering

Serious game

The course includes a purpose-built serious game to guide learners through the decision-making process while they build their own railway networks, which need to be operated and maintained over time. The idea is to connect cities in an increasingly complex situation, requiring that learners deal with wear, capacity, developments and disturbances. Participants will have to make choices and set priorities to influence the performance of the railway system under ever-changing circumstances.

To make the course valuable for international learners, the differences and similarities of rail networks in different countries are analysed and used for mutual learning. The course also makes use of interactive images, animations and mini-lectures (knowledge clips) to explain complexity in a visual and understandable way.

“I wanted more background information about rail in the broadest sense so that this would help me better understand the problems with the track. The course is well prepared in terms of interaction with instructors and fellow participants, which was very valuable and instructive. The course is constructed in a way that is just fun to go through. It’s a must for anyone who wants to learn more about this topic.” – Edwin Pirson, Civil Servant/Policy Officer – course participant

Is this course for you? Enroll free of charge at

Course highlights:

  • Accessible knowledge supported by attractive visuals and an interactive serious game
  • Insights into the underlying engineering and operational complexity behind a daily train ride
  • Strong link to practice with real-life cases
  • Interaction with peers from all over the world
  • Opportunity to work and study from home in your own time and at your own pace
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