course: Electric Railways

teaching methods:
lecture with tutorials
computer based presentation, black board and chalk
responsible person:
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Steimel
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Steimel (ETIT)
offered in:
winter term

dates in winter term

  • start: Thursday the 10.10.2019
  • lecture Thursdays: from 14:15 to 15.45 o'clock in ID 03/445
  • tutorial Thursdays: from 16:15 to 17.00 o'clock in ID 03/445


All statements pertaining to examination modalities (for the summer/winter term of 2020) are given with reservations. Changes due to new requirements from the university will be announced as soon as possible.

Date according to prior agreement with lecturer.

Form of exam:oral
Registration for exam:FlexNow


The students are experienced in the complex interaction of electric, electro-mechanic and mechanic components of the system of electric railways. They are proficient in the main components of electric locomotives as well as of mass and light rapid transit vehicles. The characteristics of the different power supply systems in use, the requirements as to line interference and the basic control methods of converter-fed drives in traction are understood. The lecture is highly interdisciplinary as connecting knowledge of power electronics, drive technology and mechanic drive systems with aspects of limited space and weight in the vehicle, low acquisition cost as well as adequate life expectancy and low maintenance demand and much more. The students find their way in this complex environment of contrasting demands and are able to advance the development in this innovative area of economy and technology.


Electric railways put especially high demands on power electronics and have always been the first field of application of cutting-edge power-electronic technology. This is given on the one hand by the difficult operation conditions as an only two-wire power supply and the harsh limitation of space and weight of the converter-fed drives; on the other hand the relatively high cost of traction drives admit more expensive solutions. The lecture gives a survey of the complex interaction of power supply system, motor technology and the mechanical components of the power transmission to the rails. First, the different power supply systems and kinds of traction systems and the mechanical basics as traction dynamics, wheelset guidance, adhesion and slip-slide control are discussed. Subsequently, the particular components of the drive chain are presented, as e.g. the traction motors with their control and their power supply and the transmission to the wheelsets. The application of these components in electric locomotives, high-speed trains, diesel-electric locomotives and mass and light rapid transit vehicles is exemplified. Finally, the different power railway supply systems are surveyed, with under special consideration of line interference and interaction with track circuits under the aspect of power electronics.



recommended knowledge

Basics of electrical engineering, power engineering and power electronics



sample solutions:



  1. Filipovic, Zarko "Elektrische Bahnen. Grundlagen, Triebfahrzeuge, Stromversorgung", Springer, 2004
  2. Müller, Siegfried "Elektrische und dieselelektrische Triebfahrzeuge. Arbeitsweise, Leistungsfähigkeit, Betriebskosten", Minirex AG, 1979
  3. Steimel, Andreas "Elek­tri­sche Trieb­fahr­zeu­ge und ihre En­er­gie­ver­sor­gung: Grund­la­gen der Pra­xis", None, 2017


Der Literaturhinweis zum Buch von Prof. Steimel im Detail: Steimel, Andreas "Elektrische Triebfahrzeuge und ihre Energieversorgung: Grundlagen der Praxis", InnoTech Medien (vormals im Vulkan-Verlag), 4. Auflage, 2017, ISBN-10: 3835673599, ISBN-13: 978-3835673595