MEC448: Railway Engineering & Sustainable Transport

All teaching in Autumn Semester, field trip in Spring Semester
Optional on Programmes: MECT40, MECT53


The underlying principles of railways are the same across the world - Asia, Europe and the US. Knowledge of this subject opens up job opportunities wherever people are looking for solutions to urban congestion, pollution and transport energy use.

Prof. David Fletcher, Module Lead

Module Description

Transition from undergraduate engineering to real-world application is the focus of Railway Engineering and Sustainable Transport. This module introduces the interdisciplinary field of railway transport through application of mechanical engineering in the context of creating a sustainable transport system. 

Linking engineering fundamentals to application in railways, it focuses on skills and expertise needed to make rail transport and its operation resilient to technological, demographic, economic, social and environmental change. Evaluation and problem solving for rail transport issues provides context for developing widely applicable transferable skills. These include justification of engineering decisions through evaluation of data, and assessment of engineering’s economic and social impacts. Themes are explored using a local field trip. 

Key Concepts & Assumed Knowledge

Undergraduate mechanical engineering.

Teaching Methods

• Lectures 

• Independent learning

• Drop-in surgeries/tutorials

• One day field trip in Sheffield

• The course is taken during the Autumn semester but the field trip takes place in the Spring semester

Assessment Methods

• 67% Exam: 2 hour exam at the end of Semester 1.

• 33% Coursework: This is based in a 1 day field trip in Sheffield. The field trip is an opportunity to bring alive the taught material through application in a real location. The coursework submission is a 10 slide presentation pack to launch a prospectus for investors to support a new railway transport project. The focus is on using concise and visual presentation not submission of a report.

Module Aims

• Provide an industrially relevant application of core mechanical engineering analysis.

• Link engineering analysis with the realities of a business operation, high-lighting the different priorities of science-led and business-led approaches to engineering issues.

• Develop ability to make engineering judgements in the context of sustainability (economic, environmental, societal) and uncertainty (incomplete data, competing views).

• Provoke original thought and new solutions to current transport problems through application of established engineering analysis.

• Expose students to current research in the rail engineering area.

Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

International scholarships

We offer a generous package of financial support for international students, including undergraduate and postgraduate taught scholarships towards the annual tuition fee. Applications are open for existing offer holders.