Influence European Railways with Your Master's Thesis!

Are you a motivated student looking to make a real impact with your Master's or Ph.D. thesis? Do you want your research to shape the future of railway processes in Europe? Look no further! FTE is offering an exciting opportunity for a dedicated student to collaborate on research focused on the integration of passenger platforms into rail capacity planning and management.

Do you know someone who might be a fit for this unique research opportunity? We encourage you to share this offer with them.

FTE and Service Facilities

The associations for Railway Undertakings and Infrastructure Managers, FTE and RNE, are currently in the implementation of the future TTR Process, which focuses on railway capacity planning and railway allocation. However, there's a critical need to align track usage rights and terminal/service facility slots. Currently, these two separate processes are integrated only to a limited extent. However, this will change, as the European Commission has addressed this problem with the proposed EU Regulation 443 on the Use of Railway Infrastructure.

In 2023, FTE initiated research on service facilities and launched a dedicated webpage, where more detailed information is shared. So far, the focus was on the freight terminals and storage sidings. In 2024, more attention shall be dedicated to passenger platforms.

Research Opportunity

As a researcher, your role will involve:

  • Mapping current passenger platform processes in several selected European countries.
  • Investigating market needs of the sector, including best practices in Europe.
  • Proposing recommendations for the process for harmonized integrated capacity/slot allocation and long-term strategic railway planning.

You willl delve into essential questions, such as:

  • How far are investments in platforms coordinated with the development and capacity planning of railway tracks?
  • How far are platforms included in the planning of Temporary Capacity Restrictions?
  • How does the process for the allocation of passenger platforms look like? How far it is digitalised? What are the shortcomings? How are conflicting requests for the same platform solved?

The research methodology should be determined through mutual agreement. It will certainly include independent desk research and potentially also interviews with stakeholders, for which FTE is ready to offer assistance where needed.

The insights gained from this research might play an important role in advancing the efficiency and effectiveness of railway capacity planning processes across Europe and ultimately contribute to the ongoing efforts to ensure a more efficient and sustainable future for European railways.

Application Details

We invite highly motivated students with good English skills, basic presentation abilities, and a passion for the railway sector to apply by emailing to Please include your CV and a clear motivation for working on this topic with us.

Upon mutual agreement, the FTE office can provide an introduction to the topic and  invite you to the relevant international meetings. However, most of the work should be done individually, including data collection. You might be offered the opportunity to present your outputs and discuss them with the representatives of the sector.

This topic is currently open for application for the period of January/February 2024 to December 2024 and may also be combined with a traineeship at FTE (learn more on our traineeship webpage). However, the period is subject to mutual agreement, for instance in case of a PhD thesis, it might last for a longer period and be more widely defined.

Are you ready to make a difference in the railway world? Don't wait – reach out to us today and let's transform European railways together!