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Research Center Railways

Cooperation of the institutes IFS, IRT, ISB, ISEA and VIA to the virtual institute of RWTH Aachen University.

About us
The only way to do a great job is to love it.

The Research Center Railways (RCR) was founded in 2017 by the Institute of Transport Science (VIA), the Institute of Rail Vehicles and Transport Systems (IFS) and the Institute of Power Electronics and Electrical Drives (ISEA) at RWTH Aachen University.

Thereby, RCR comprises all three major fields of railway transportation engineering: rail vehicle engineering, railway infrastructure and -operation as well as electrical drives. The interdisciplinary cooperation aims to investigate and implement future research in the area of railway technology, lightweight construction, autonomous driving, digital networks, optimized railway operation as well as railway related drive and storage systems.

In 2020, with the Institute of Urban and Transport Planning (ISB) and the Institute of Automatic Control (IRT), two further associated members were added to the RCR. Thus, the portfolio of the virtual institute expands around the research focus on urban mobility, electromobility, assistance systems and sensors as well as networked information and communication technology.

By launching the specialization course "Railway System Engineer", which is lectured in English as part of the M.Sc. course Transport Engineering and Mobility, and by setting up the biannual conference International Railway Symposium Aachen (IRSA), RCR has set the course for a long term study and development of railway technologies.



International Railway Symposium Aachen

The "International Railway Symposium Aachen" (IRSA) is an event organized by the Research Center Railways (RCR) that takes place every two years in Aachen. The IRSA was conceived to serve as a common platform where international experts working in the railway sector can come together for discussions and the exchange of ideas. Over a period of three days, the symposium offers an opportunity for you, as an expert from science, industry and politics to present results of ongoing research, monitor current developments in the industry and exchange views with your colleagues.

Following the successful second edition of the International Railway Symposium 2019 with over 250 participants from 15 countries, IRSA 2021 will be held as a hybrid event from Nov. 21 - Nov. 23, 2021. In this context, the symposium will be held on-site in Aachen, as far as circumstances allow, and will additionally be offered as a virtual conference with digital participation. The range of topics fully reflects the complexity of the rail system, from infrastructure to vehicle and drive technology to operation. By covering a wide range of topics, we as the organizer want to continue to encourage an international and interdisciplinary exchange about current and future challenges faced by the railway industry even in times of pandemic. For more information, please visit the Website.


Master programm

Railway Systems Engineer

Many of today’s challenges in the railway industry require both interdisciplinary and international competencies. The new specialization "Railway Systems Engineer" for the master’s degree program Transport Engineering and Mobility has been preparing students for exactly these challenges since it was introduced in the winter semester of 2017/18 at the RWTH Aachen University. This specialization is one of the first programs to be offered completely in English by the Faculty of Civil Engineering. It covers not only the infrastructural aspects but also vehicle engineering, electrical drive technologies and power supplys pertaining to railway systems, thus, offering an integrated approach to the entire railway system.

The interdisciplinary character of the course is realized through the close cooperation of all Research Center Railways (RCR) institutes. The Institute of Transportation Science and Chair of Railway Engineering and Transport Economics (VIA) focuses on the aspects of infrastructure and railway operation. Content related to rail vehicle technology are taught by the Institute of Rail Vehicles and Transport Systems (IFS). Finally, the Chair and Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives (ISEA) contributes with aspects of electrical drives and power supply. For mor information, please visit the Website

Numerous courses from which each student can choose are offered to further enable the best possible education for each individual student. The examination regulations contain a detailed overview of these courses.

The admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree in engineering. A detailed overview of the content requirements that the preceding bachelor’s degree program should meet can be found in the examination regulations (only in German). Furthermore, an overview concerning recommended prior knowledge and focal points of the program can be found, in detail, on the website of the Faculty of Civil Engineering.


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c/o Institute of Rail Vehicles and Transport Systems
Seffenter Weg 8
52074 Aachen, Germany


Phone: +49 241 80-25563
Fax: +49 241 80-22145


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