The need for this textbook arose originally in 1994 out of the author’s experience whilst co-ordinating the optional subject ‘Railway Engineering Concepts’ for the Intercollegiate MSc Course in Transport run jointly by Imperial College and University College, London University. The stated objective of this optional subject is: ‘To develop an understanding of the engineering concepts involved, for all disciplines, in the planning, design, construction, equipping, maintenance and renewal of all types of railway.’ The author quickly discovered that there were many textbooks which gave detailed information on various aspects of railway engineering, usually confined to one or two main disciples, but none that provided a general ‘broad brush’ approach to the subject as a whole. The first edition of this textbook was published in 1996 and was specifically designed to fill this gap, not only for the student on this or similar courses, but also to be a useful reference book to all who need to expand their knowledge in this wide field.
The first edition was adopted as a standard textbook by a number of Universities and Colleges. Although the basic principles of such a subject do not change over time, some of the details of the book needed up-dating and this has been the author’s objective in producing the second edition. The author wishes to acknowledge extensive help he has received from many practicing engineers and, in particular, those who regularly have contributed lectures on this subject to students on the London University course. In addition thanks are recorded for comments received on the first edition which have been taken into account in producing the second edition. One of the main changes in the second edition is the improvement of the illustrations and the introduction of some colour prints, made possible by the publishers, which is much appreciated.