Railroad Inspection


• Familiarize trainees with the functioning of the track in service and with the track parameters that allow for diagnosing its condition. The main inspection methods of the railway infrastructure will be described, from track, bridges, tunnels and drainage, its operation and processing of measurement results. Traditional monitoring methods and future trends will be presented. At the end of this module, trainees will have notions of the efficient inspection of various elements of the railway infrastructure, the causes of degradation and adequate maintenance measures.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Simona Fontul, Zuzana Dimitrovova


Weekly - 3

Total - 42

Teaching language



• Basic knowledge of civil engineering


• Syllabus Infraestruturas Ferroviárias e Portuárias (Fontul, S. Neves, M.G. - 2018)
• “Modern Railway Track” MRT-Productions, Netherlands. (Esvelt, C. (2001)
• Inspeção à infraestrutura ferroviária Palestra proferida no FCT UNL (Baldeiras, M. – 2013)
• Syllabus Inspeção da Via Férrea 2019/2020.

Teaching method

The course consists of a set of theoretical-practical classes, in which the students are familiarized with the basic principles of railways infrastructures, from aspects related to management concepts, to principles of design, construction, service and monitoring. In addition, in order to consolidate the acquired knowledge, examples of track quality calculation based on monitoring data will be performed.  The assessment of the acquired knowledge has several components: two written mini tests through semester and a research report delivered and defended orally by students.

Evaluation method

Two written mini tests (2x30%)  and a research report delivered and defended orally (40%)

Subject matter

1. Railway circulation principles. Constitution of the infrastructure and superstructure.
2. Inspection, testing and monitoring of railway bridges
3. Inspection of railway drainage systems
4. Inspection of tunnels and slopes
5. Track parameters, geometric characteristics, ballast thickness
6. Track inspection, inspection types and equipment
7. Track quality classification and track maintenance.
8. Basic notions of track maintenance.
9. Multi-resolution monitoring.


Programs where the course is taught: