PhD in methods, operations and assessment of train-centric railway signalling systems

Department/faculty: Faculty Civil Engineering and Geosciences
Level: University Graduate
Working hours: 36-40 hours weekly
Contract: <empty>
Salary: 2266 - 2897 euros monthly (full-time basis)

Faculty Civil Engineering and Geosciences

The Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (CEG) is committed to outstanding international research and education in the field of civil engineering, applied earth sciences, traffic and transport, water technology and delta technology. The research covers global social issues and is closely connected to education as well as the work of a wide range of knowledge institutions. CEG is convinced that Open Science helps to realise these goals and supports its scientists in integrating Open Science in their research practice. The Faculty of CEG comprises 28 research groups in the following seven departments: Materials Mechanics Management & Design, Engineering Structures, Geoscience and Engineering, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Transport & Planning, Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management.

Department of Transport & Planning
The Department of Transport & Planning (T&P) (about 100 members) has a strong track record in traffic flow theory, traffic simulation, dynamic traffic management and intelligent transport systems of all transport modes, including railway, pedestrians and urban public transport. A trademark of the department is the use of empirical data and advanced modelling tools. TU Delft is consistently ranked among the top 3 for the subject ‘Transportation Science & Technology’ in the Shanghai Global Academic Ranking.

Job description

 To face the ever-increasing need for railway transport capacity, train-centric signalling technologies such as ERTMS/ETCS Level 3 and the new concept of Virtual Coupling are being investigated to overcome traditional fixed-block train separation and go towards a “moving-block” operational setup. In moving-block operations, vital track-side equipment (e.g. trackside signals, track-clear detection) are replaced by onboard devices for train integrity monitoring and dynamic braking supervision so to reduce train separation to a braking curve and move as cars do on the road.

The EU H2020 Shift2Rail funded project MOVINGRAIL will be delivering breakthroughs for the deployment of train-centric signalling by defining operational implications, developing testing methods for ETCS Level 3 as well as assessing impacts of Virtual Coupling. The PhD will be involved in the following activities:

•               Analyse and define novel operational principles to enable safe train separation under train-centric signalling operations.

•               Contribute to the identification of strategies for testing train-centric signalling components.

•               Support the evaluation of future train-to-train and train-to-ground communication architectures enabling automated cooperative control of train convoys, also looking at advances in the field of automated cars.

•               Assess multi-criteria impacts of train-centric signalling systems for different market segments (e.g. rural, regional, high-speed railways) considering capacity, service punctuality, energy consumption, transport demand, capital and operational expenditure. Assessment will also include financial-operational risks to develop and bring train-centric technologies to the market.

The activities will be performed in cooperation with other prominent universities and transport companies in Europe which are partners of the MOVINGRAIL project.   


The candidate has preferably a MSc in Civil, Transport, Electronic or Industrial Engineering. We are looking for a candidate with the following profile:

•               Acquaintance with railway operations, and/or signalling technologies and/or rail infrastructure and procedures.

•               Experience with qualitative/quantitative methods for project and risk assessment such as cost/benefit analysis, multi-criteria analysis, risk matrices.

•               Basic programming skills in .NET languages (preferably C++), Matlab and/or other programming languages.

•               Fundamental knowledge of transport simulation and basic experience with simulation software tools for railway operations and/or car traffic.

Knowledge of data management and statistical techniques and/or operations research are an advantage for this position.

In general, the candidate shall have a very good command of the English language, shall be open to work in a team within an interactive and stimulating environment. The candidate shall have advanced problem-solving skills and be interested in contributing to scientific research. Proactiveness, independence and reliability in effectively and timely delivering tasks are a fundamental prerequisite for this position. Enthusiasm and passion for the railways are very valuable factors for the candidate given that the PhD will be performed in the railway sector.   

Conditions of employment

TU Delft offers a 4-years employment, a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

Information and application

To apply for this position please send a Curriculum Vitae, transcripts of your BSc and MSc results (course lists with grades), and a letter of application in which you explain both your interest and the relevance of your skills/experience and email them in one single pdf file entitled Lastname_ CITG18-50 pdf by 9 December 2018 to

For more information about this position, please contact Egidio Quaglietta, assistant professor, e-mail: For more information about the selection procedure, please contact prof.dr. Rob Goverde, professor, e-mail:

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.


Faculty Civil Engineering and Geosciences
University Graduate
Working hours
36-40 hours weekly
2266 - 2897 euros monthly (full-time basis)

Closing date
Dec. 10, 2018
Vacancy nr.


For more information about this job, please contact Egidio Quaglietta.


For more information about the application procedure, please contact: