Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering PhD (Railway Systems specialism)

The Railway Systems Group is part of the multidisciplinary Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education within the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. 

Research in the School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering considers:

  • bespoke instrumentation and condition monitoring;
  • novel traction systems;
  • energy and power simulation;
  • traffic simulation, control and management;
  • system engineering; and data management using ontology.

The group undertakes a large number of projects for the European Commission, international railway administrations, governments and industry suppliers.

Hear from one of our researchers

Facilities and opportunities

The Railway Systems Group benefits from its own electronics and sensing system development laboratory, an electric traction teaching laboratory, a railway systems integration laboratory for large scale traction experimentation, as well as, various railway equipment test rigs.

A fortnightly railway seminar series is run in the group during term time, furthermore, students are able to attend lectures of the Centre’s MSc in Railway Systems Engineering and Integration and MRes in Railway System Integration (see www.railway.bham.ac.uk).


The group has longstanding links with industry, policy makers and academics in the UK, Europe, Japan, Singapore and China. Over recent years funding has been secured from the European Commission, EPSRC, the UK Department for Transport, and numerous companies including: Network Rail, Atkins, Invensys, Balfour Beatty, Southern Railways, Arup, the Railway Safety and Standards Board, Association of Train Operating Companies, General Electric, Singapore Land Transit Authority, National Science Foundation of China.

Current projects

Current projects include:

  • Condition monitoring of railway assets (point machines, track circuits, train doors) supported by Network Rail, RSSB, EPSRC, Southern, Arup and the European Commission (www.automain.eu);
  • Condition monitoring of the wheel/rail interface supported by the EPSRC (www.track21.org.uk);
  • Non-destructive testing of rails supported by the European Commission (www.saferail.eu and www.interailproject.eu);
  • Railway data modelling using ontology – support by the European Commission (www.integrail.info), EPSRC, Invensys and Network Rail
  • Traffic management and capacity assessment – supported by the European Commission, EPSRC and UK Department for Transport.
  • Energy simulation for improved energy efficiency – supported by the UK Department for Transport, ATOC, Atkins, National Science Foundation of China and Singapore Land Transit Authority.
  • Novel railway traction system design – supported by AWM (www.birminghamsciencecity.co.uk), General Electric and the UK Department for Transport