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Rail engineering

Technical excellence and innovation empower Arup to reshape rail engineering.


Arup’s skills encompass every element of rail engineering from high-level planning to detailed design and specialist expertise in signalling and track design (permanent way), power and operations.

Our rail experience inspires trust worldwide. We have been instrumental in complex and groundbreaking projects such as the UK’s High Speed 1; in extensive signalling and modelling, as for Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC); and in pit-to-port freight logistics. We have worked widely with rail and transit operators including Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation and New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

We also go beyond expectations of excellence to design technically creative solutions that push the possibilities in rail further.

Rethinking rail

Innovation in rail contends with the constraints of stringent regulation, finite budgets and challenging environments, from crowded cities to delicate ecosystems. But Arup’s creative culture pushes us to find solutions that overcome limitations.

Network Rail asked us to redevelop Waterloo Station in London to meet increased demand in an extremely tight envelope. We accommodated longer trains and more frequent services by compressing the signalling and track layout. Our intricate design was so novel that it required us to develop a new crossing and switches unit to make it work, and to test our ideas using 3D modelling. Our innovations helped Network Rail plan for service levels to 2020 and beyond, without major disruption to existing services.

We also exceeded our client’s expectations on Australia’s Hunter Valley Corridor coal line. We increased freight capacity with reconfigured track and signalling design and new controls technology. Using operational and timetabling analysis, we also shortened delivery time.

Seamless teams for better solutions

Whether for intercity, suburban or freight lines, rail systems are complex undertakings that require close cooperation. Arup’s long-established practice of holistic working creates truly integrated rail teams that produce better solutions together.

Our rail engineers necessarily work smoothly with our tunnelbridge and geotechnics experts. To ensure a client’s vision from the start we also work alongside architects, acousticiansmaterials experts and all the specialists who contribute to success on forward-thinking projects such as Copenhagen Cityringen.

The principles of sustainable infrastructure underpin Arup’s rail projects, and our expertise in environmental consulting helps us find more balanced solutions. The Gautrain Rapid Rail Link was proposed to stimulate economic growth in South Africa, but its original route intersected environmentally sensitive land. We identified an alternative, completely within tunnels, that would also save costs and alleviate public concerns about property, noise and safety.

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Global contact

  • Tony Vidago
  • Global Rail Engineering Business Leader

Explore our work


Hunter Valley corridor operational modelling, coal train.

Project: Hunter Valley Corridor operational modelling

Improving the coal network's capacity in New South Wales.

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Maitland to Branxton rail signalling

Project: Maitland to Branxton rail signalling

Signalling system for fast, continuous and economical running.

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Waterloo station redevelopment. Image credit Trevor West.

Project: Waterloo station redevelopment

Multi-disciplinary design for international and domestic terminal works.

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