The 1st International Railway Symposium Aachen (IRSA), organised by the Research Center Railways (RCR), took place on December 28-30. The RCR is a rail transport research centre that has been recently founded by three RWTH institutes from the Faculties of Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.

The demanding tasks in rail transport are increasingly being approached by interdisciplinary teams composed by engineers and scientists. The international symposium covered different topics from different fields of rail transport and attracted 200 participants coming from more than 15 countries related to both research and industry.

After the opening by Professor Schindler state secretary Dr. Schulte from the Nothrhine-Westphalia Ministry of transport held a welcome speech on behalf of the state government, while Professor Brettel, RWTH pro-rector for economics and industry, greeted the participants on behalf of the RWTH rectorate. Keynote speeches by Dr. Eickholt (Siemens), Mr. Werdel (CFL Luxembourg) und Mr. Lang (DB Systemtechnik) highlighted the possibilities and challenges of digitalization to the railway business.

Then current challenges of rail transport were presented and discussed in 50 presentations, which were simultaneously translated.

Among other topics, the main subjects were the digitalisation and its potentials for increasing safety and reliability of vehicles and infrastructure and establishing assisted, automated and autonomous driving, from which new or improved operational concepts can be derived. Another core subject was the reduction of CO2 emissions, to which the rail transport has contributed considerably. New ideas in the field of power electronics, drive and storage technologies, as well as innovative lightweight design, can lead to further significant energy and emission savings. Last but not least, the subject noise reduction played a central role as well.

The organising professors Rik De Doncker, Nils Nießen and Christian Schindler are pleased about the successful event and plan the 2nd IRSA for November 2019.

You can find the programme of the IRSA 2017 here.