Before the development of automobile transport in the 20th century, the railways covered the majority of transportation needs. As a technical system of tracks and related infrastructure, the railways network and the vehicles using the tracks demanded engineered products. That is even more so today when rail competes road and air and the feasibility of rail transport is a major challenge for engineers. To live up to current speed expectations securely, computer controlled interlocking equipment is required and railway information systems also take tremendous strides in progress and development.
Hungarian engineers have played a pronounced role in developing railway transport in the past century and a half. The creation and development of railway tracks and the necessary additional structures, such as bridges and tunnels, speak words of praise of the efforts of Hungarian engineers. Similarly, the domestic manufacturing of railway vehicles produced cutting edge models to satisfy the demand for vehicles in Hungary and abroad. The curricula of training in engineering in Hungary have always given high priority to providing high quality instruction in developing, designing, constructing, repairing and operating various railway systems.
With the current demand for high speed in hazardous railway operations, all of the components of the rail infrastructure, from tracks to gates and signalling equipment, must meet the requirements of high reliability and high availability while the costs of installation must be confined. It will take a generation of university trained engineers with skills in modern systems theory, information technology and computer aided optimisation to live up to these expectations. Nevertheless, the railway engineers trained in Hungary can face and accept the challenges.•